Amendment would protect ferry service until summer 2014March 6th, 2012 by ed friedrich
Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, got an amendment included
in the House transportation budget Monday that would keep ferry
service at its current level through the 2013-15 budget cycle,
which ends June 30, 2014.
Hansen, Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, and four other House members from ferry communities wrote to the House Transportation Committee requesting the provision.
The bill passed the House 82-16 and moves to the Senate.
The amendment reads, “It is the intent of the Legislature to appropriate funding to the Washington State Ferries Division in the 2013-15 biennium at a level sufficient to maintain current ferry routes and schedules at existing levels. The Washington State Ferries Division must conduct any public outreach consistent with the policy direction provided in this subsection to maintain current ferry routes and schedules at existing levels.”
Hansen said the amendment would be hard to get around.
“There are other safeguards that would make it very, very hard to ignore,” he said. “Under RCW 47.60.330, the ferry system has to consult with affected ferry users by public hearing before any substantial change to service levels. In addition, legislative approval is required to eliminate or add a ferry route; the governor and his/her ferry system can’t cut a whole route without legislative approval. So because my language requires all outreach be consistent with maintaining service, they obviously can’t be conducting any outreach about cutting service … which means that, in effect, it would be hard for them to cut.”
Hansen also sponsored an amendment that requires the Department of Transportation to maintain passenger-only ferry and transit service as part of any modifications at Colman Dock in Seattle.
The supplemental transportation budget is Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2190.