The state Transportation Commission will be talking ferry fare
increases during its monthly meeting Tuesday in Olympia. Generally,
there’s a 2.5 percent “cost-of-living” increase every Oct. 1.
It was different last year, when it happened early, on May 1, to
offset revenue lost from expanding the youth discount from 20
percent to 50 percent. Vehicles took a 2.5 percent hit, but
passengers got off with 2 percent.
A 2.5 percent hike is assumed in the House and Senate
transportation budgets that need to be consolidated and passed
The ferry fare discussion is on the agenda for 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
You can watch it on TVW.
Two routes would have made money last fiscal year (July 1,
2013-June 30, 2014) if Washington State Ferries wasn’t viewed as a
system. Edmonds-Kingston collected 106.7 percent of its operating
costs, and Seattle-Bainbridge 106.1 percent. Overall, fares covered
69.2 of the system’s operations.
The other routes:
Seattle-Bremerton 47.3 percent
Anacortes-San Juan Islands 46.1
Port Townsend-Coupeville 43.7
Point Defiance-Tahlequah 42.9
When the second new 144-car ferry, Samish, joins the
Anacortes-San Juans route on June 14, it will domino other boats to
new assignments. 144-car Hyak will move from the San Juans to
Bremerton. It will replace sister ship Kaleetan, which goes to dry
dock until mid-September. The 90-car Sealth goes from the San Juans
to Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth, bumping 87-car Evergreen State to
standby, along with sister Tillikum.
So the local lineup for most of the summer will be:
Bainbridge: 202 car Wenatchee and Kingston’s 202-car Puyallup
because 202-car Tacoma will be in dry dock all summer.
Kingston: 188-car Spokane and Bremerton’s 188-car Walla Walla.
Bremerton: 144-car Hyak and 124-car Kitsap
Southworth: 124-car Issaquah, 124-car Cathlamet and 90-car
The state is installing
ramp meters between Olympia and Tacoma to ease chronic congestion
on I-5 around Joint Base Lewis-McChord until more lanes can be
built, which might never happen.
The Department of Transportation will have meters at 11
interchanges near Joint Base Lewis-McChord where traffic routinely
slows to a crawl during the morning and afternoon commutes. They
could be flashing as soon as May 18.
New ramp meters, traffic cameras, and variable-message and
travel-time signs are part of a federally funded project
designed to help alleviate congestion through this corridor by
better managing traffic.
I won’t bother telling you where they’ll all be, or are. Three
are already operating. Just know if you’re entering the freeway,
you’ll probably have to stop first.
The meters help reduce congestion by providing timed intervals
between vehicles, instead of allowing multiple cars to enter the
freeway at once. Studies show that they reduce collisions by as
much as 30 percent.
Before the new Narrows Bridge opened, they put the meters
on five or six of the ramps heading toward Tacoma, and cameras too
so you could look online and see how bad things were before you got
there. I didn’t notice a ton of difference, but maybe that’s just
They turned them off when the new bridge broke the traffic jam,
but they’re still there and might be needed later.
I can’t think of many places where on-ramp meters would make a
big difference in Kitsap. What do you think?
A Kitsap Transit lobbyist told the board Tuesday he’s not
optimistic the Legislature can complete its work during the 30-day
special session that began April 29.
Everything is being held up by disagreements between the House and
Senate over an operating budget that must include a huge chunk of
Supreme Court-mandated education funding, said Dylan Doty. Only
when that is resolved can lawmakers move on to construction and
transportation budgets, and a transportation revenue package.
Doty predicts a second special session will be needed, which could
extend into June. The ultimate deadline is the end of the state
fiscal year June 30, when the government would shut down.
Transportation chairs Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, and Curtis
King, R-Yakima, have been meeting regularly about transportation
revenue project lists and reforms, Doty said. They’re close on the
projects. The holdup, like last year, is reforms, including keeping
sales taxes from projects in the transportation budget instead of
the general fund as is done now.
Kitsap Transit has much to gain from a transportation revenue
package, including money for new Silverdale and East Bremerton
transfer centers that is on both project lists.
Also mixed up with the package is House Bill 1221. It would, with
voter approval, allow Kitsap Transit to create one or more
passenger-only ferry districts funded by up to three-tenths of 1
percent of local sales tax.
The transit board on Tuesday approved a $312,000 contract to move
ahead with Phase 2 of the cross-Sound passenger-only ferry business
plan, which includes engaging the community about it. Until the
bill’s fate is known, however, there are some questions about what
to tell people. But the agency should share what it knows, said
South Kitsap resident Roger Gay and a couple board members.
“Mr. Gay is right,” said Poulsbo mayor Becky Erickson. “Sooner or
later we’re going to have to figure out what these districts look
like. To have a viable financial plan, what people will be taxed at
what level? People who will be included have a right to know so
they can express support or non-support.”
Some Kitsap County kids
will be disappointed if it doesn’t snow next winter, and it won’t
be just because they don’t get to skip school.
As part of the annual National Public Works Week
celebration (May 17-23), Kitsap County Public Works has announced a
contest to select three classrooms to paint the blades of snowplows
used in snow and ice removal operations. The contest is open to
classrooms at all levels.
Public Works will provide the paint and brushes,
and arrange delivery and pick up of the plow blade with the
selected schools. The blades are 12 feet long and about 3
Applications and photos of last year’s entrants