Fast ferry rides broached, but a long way off


Fast ferry rides could be part of Armed Forces Day weekend.

Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent and County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido suggested this week during a Kitsap Transit subcommittee meeting that the Rich Passage 1 make demonstration runs so residents can experience it before voting on cross-Sound service, probably in November.

The 118-seat ferry can cross between Bremerton and Seattle in half an hour without harming Rich Passage beaches. There’s no money to operate it, however, hence a sales tax increase will likely be going to voters.

Lent proposed to run the ferry Saturday, May 21, the day of the big Bremerton parade. Garrido wanted commuters to get a taste of it on a weekday. The two agreed on May 19-21. Now it’s a matter of pulling it off.

First, it would have to be approved by the full nine-person transit board. Not all members are crazy about fast ferries, though the majority seem to be.

Then the Rich Passage 1 would have to be available. It’s being stored at Port Townsend Boat Haven and needs a little work before getting back in the water, said Kitsap Transit service and capital development director Steffani Lillie. It would need to pass an annual Coast Guard inspection, which shouldn’t be a problem. A crew would have to be lined up.

And there’s the matter of paying it — primarily fuel, labor and insurance. Lent believes she can find a sponsor for the insurance, which she estimates at $8,000. Finance director Paul Shinners is examining the cost. Lent said $70,000 generated from fares during a three-month testing period in 2012 could be spent on demonstration trips. That money is long gone, however. It offset some of the cost of providing the 2012 service, said Shinners.

Permission would have to be granted by the Federal Transit Administration to use the Rich Passage in such a way and it would determine whether fares could be collected, Lillie said.

Executive director John Clauson, who was out of town and didn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting, is concerned about Lent and Garrido’s proposal coming off as a foregone conclusion.

“We’re a long ways from that,” he said. “No. 1, two members do not make a quorum. That would have to be a full board decision because it would have to be a budget expenditure. Currently we don’t have the funds to operate it. The board’s in control of it. They can do what they want.”

“There’s an awful lot that would go into putting that into operation, though it’s not something we couldn’t do.”

In January 2015, Lent pushed for the RP1 to provide trips to Seahawks playoff games. Passengers would’ve paid $25 per round trip. She requested contributions from five large companies, but they said they couldn’t act quickly enough.

37 thoughts on “Fast ferry rides broached, but a long way off

  1. Let’s sell the D**m boat and use the proceeds to support our local Boy Scout camp… much better long term investment than that fast water hole.

    1. I am really looking forward to this. It Will definitely be used by quite a few of us and will make this area more attractive to working people.

  2. That is an awful lot of expense to buy a few votes for the upcoming candidates. There is no mention of the employee cost. If there is no money to operate it than does that employee cost to activate the boat for the couple days come from the bus funds?

    Maybe the candidates should just cover the full cost from their campaign funds instead.

    Running that toy boat during a parade doesn’t make that poor and skewed business plan any better.

    Sales tax hits the poor still struggling to keep themselves housed and fed. To take from the poor to subsidize the fares by 66%+ for the commuters with much better financial standing is just plain wrong. Kitsap Transit’s own report states 45% of the commuters have incomes over 100K annually and another 45% have incomes 50K to 100K.

    Shame on the candidate Mayor and Candidate Commissioner. Is this the leadership we really want?

    1. So it’s a terrible thing to provide a much needed service to residents to boost the economy? Rent and food are not taxed. If you encourage more middle class residents to move here, that creates employment opportunities for lower income people. You need a strong tax base, which must consist of those people who make more than $50k to support the community – the people who pay the property taxes to fund schools, the people who shop and dine in stores and restaurants. Why are you so eager to demonize working people?

      1. Interesting world you live in if you truly believe “rent” is not taxed… Actually, foot ferry fanatics… I really have no problem with it, but it’s merely a time saver for a select, privileged few— come up with a plan that pays 100% of operating costs from fare box, and most of us naysayers will go away… most of us will never ride it anyway..

        1. Fine let’s carry that thought to its logical conclusion. Why should I have to pay for any services I don’t use? Why should I have to support public schools? Roads I don’t drive on, or transit systems I don’t personally use?
          Since richer areas support services of less affluent areas, why should the citizens of Bellevue or Medina indirectly support schools in Kitsap county?

          Did you know that transit systems are typically not self supporting via fares and are a public service?

          Finally, rents do not include sales tax. Rents reflect the balance between supply and demand, in other words, it is set by market forces. Property tax is a minor player on the supply side for landlords. Sales tax has nothing to do with rental costs.

          What does make economic sense is to do the things that attract the working middle class who pay the bulk of taxes. Additional revenues via more devloped property tax payers and greater demand for goods and services create more b&o tax and sales tax revenues, which leads to more funds available for community projects.

      2. Prepared food are subject to Washington State Sales Tax.

        Property taxes are incorporated into the amount of rent charged by the property owner to the renter.

        1. But landlord cost is not the determining factor for rent. Rental rates are based on what a landlord can charge – which is the amount people are willing to pay. The same principle determines how much you pay for a car, a boat, a house or a shirt.

          1. You are splitting a hair to fall the way you want it to. Doing so still does not change the fact that the area of impact being discussed here, around the ferry terminal, is heavily populated with Section 8 housing. Section 8 housing operated outside of the “supply and demand” system of charges you refer to. Section 8 housing is operated in an artificially created economic environment of charging limitations and funded subsidy. Subsidy that is funded by….wait for it….taxes imposed on the population at large.

      3. Why do you think a fast ferry that cuts twenty minutes off a commute time in each direction for less than 350 people a day in Bremerton make people flock here? Keep in mind that pedestrians will have a significantly longer walk to buses, light rail or other means of transit in Seattle. I think a regressive sales tax increase on every single consumer in Kitsap County is unfair for little benefit. People will move here because of lower home prices, decent schools and beautiful surroundings, not to ride in a fairly fast tin can.

    2. No mention of employee or operational costs? You know better than to expect that type of actual coverage here.

  3. No mention of liability insurance costs. That kind of thing scuttled the previous foot ferries over bulkhead erosion. Can the citizens of the entire county afford a lawsuit? The whole thing is a deep money pit.

  4. Section 8 housing is market driven in that the rents have to approximate non subsidized rents or guess what, the landlord would not be a member of the program, again, prices are based on supply and demand . This is basic economics.

    1. You are still avoiding the “source” of the subsidized money. Still can’t swallow that it is from taxes.

        1. But I think I see the main reason for the pushback. Gentrification would shake up the poverty industry hence disturb those who make money off of it.

          1. Those who make money off of it. Like the developers getting tax breaks for lip service to low income housing percentage set asides that the City of Bremerton has zero way of monitoring or ensuring once the property is sold off after completion? Yep, really disturbing.

  5. Nothing to do with the fast ferry? Oh so very wrong. How about the fact that the area designated for the tax breaks to developers surrounds much of the landscape around the ferry terminal in Bremerton. That and the properties in that tax break area are owned by a list of individual who just so happened to be participating on a Passenger Only Ferry Task Force, for over a year, that was operating without anyone other than the top administration of Kitsap Transit knowing about it and being heavily involved in the facilitation of its activities. Heck most of the representative members on the Kitsap Transit Board did not even know that it was being funded and facilitated. And this is the same public organization that wants local taxpayers to trust it with $11 million dollars of its money annually? Kitsap Transit, by its own actions or lack there of, continues to prove that it is not worthy of any additional taxpayer money or trust at this point.

    1. So others will benefit? Life is not a zero sum game. I happen to think that Kitsap Transit is a fantastic transit system, and it would be great to see them expand to fit the needs of the growing number of middle class blue and white collar families in the county.

      1. Sure lets start with 7 day a week bus service? Are the poor and working class only poor working class on the 6 days a week Kitsap Transit decides that they should be?

        Or service that is timed to work in conjunction with existing ferry loading and unloading times as well as the ability for Olympic College participants to get back home after evening classes?

        How about Kitsap Transit stop being just a mediocre “commuter” transit system and instead apply itself to becoming a fundamental “community” transit system to serve the population that needs transportation in and around the county community instead of just out of it and back in to it?

        How about Kitsap Transit NOT running the Rich Passage a-ground on a 3 person joy ride?

        How about Kitsap Transit stop wasting taxpayer money purchasing property it now has no intention of using like the old Parker Lumber location?

        How about Kitsap Transit stop hiding what it has been paying out for the facilitation of a Secret Squirrel backroom Passenger Only Task Force?

        Doing all of these things would free up funds and expand services to the growing number of middle class blue collar individuals and families in the county. Running a Passenger Only Ferry for a limited number of riders to the tune of $100 million dollars over 6 years just to get it all up and running is not going to accomplish that.

        1. Well you need a sufficient tax base to fund this which entails attracting a substantial middle class to fund these services. Especially since the low income riders get reduced fare benefits. You can’t provide services for the poor financed by the poor.

          1. Well right now, Kitsap Transit is running a passenger only proposal with data it collected and is using on the backs of a tax base it thinks is sufficient enough to fund it? Sufficient enough to force it to a vote.

            So if that same tax base is sufficient enough to fund $11.4 million dollars a year for the POF, and it is sufficient enough to provide services for a limited amount of $75 to $100K riders, then according to you it is being financed by the poor? That is totally ok with you and is what you are supporting with this current POF proposal.

            But when one suggests the application of that same tax on that same base to collect $11.4 million for expanded local bus services, running 7 days a week with expanded routes and hours then good golly that is then the poor financing the poor according to you because that middle class tax base you want to attract did not spring up over night.

            Now we are really getting somewhere on that backroom agenda.

          2. The poor are not paying for the majority of costs. As you yourself stated, Section 8 is paid for by the non-poor. And food is not taxed. The poor are not buying new vehicles nor other big ticket items that generate much sales taxes. And we provide them with reduced fares. Pretty close to zilch comes from the poor now or after the bump up in sales tax.

  6. Kitsap County needs real and expanded transportation for the people, not subsidized options for the more privileged at the expense of those less fortunate. Put the Rich Passage 1 on E-bay and be done with it so we can move on with real community transportation needs and solutions.

    1. We need to do the things that attract a bigger tax base. You make this area more attractive to people you bring in more money and simple. That is the point.

  7. Uh, I work for a living. I do try not to scrape my transportation cost from those less fortunate. When that young mother is buying diapers or that senior citizen is repairing their old car to get to church, I prefer their bill is not higher so I can have a 30 minute faster pleasure cruise to Seattle. It is not like that senior citizen can rely on Kitsap Transit to get them to church on Sunday.

    If the Privileged Only Ferry was such a good and worthy idea there wouldn’t have had to be secret meetings out of the public view concocting an attempt to limit some of those that will be taxed from voting for that same tax. The community groups also wouldn’t have had to be hot loaded and cherry picked to manufacture skewed public input.

    Why all the secrecy if this is such a good idea?

    1. The senior gets reduced transit rates plus a system designed for the elderly and disabled. The mother who is struggling gets WIC and food stamps. Make the area more attractive for people to come and invest as well as spend leads to more economic opportunities for people in the service economy. There are public meetings re transit, but attendance is abysmal. Honestly, your definition of privileged puts most PSNS full time employees on that category.

      1. Oh yes PSNS employees. With the worker driver buses also working off the taxpayer subsidy system.

        Working on a designated land mass that contributes nothing to the tax rolls while expending considerable use, wear and tear on community infrastructure.

        Yes, PSNS employees are a privileged bunch. They have specialized subsidized Kitsap Transit that caters to them and their specific transit needs since it started during WWII and received significant taxpayer paid upgrades in 2011.

        These workers make a very solid living wage that allows them the option of not living in Bremerton because they can afford to go live elsewhere in the county or the greater Kitsap Peninsula. And a vast majority of them DO choose to live elsewhere.

        They are the perfect example of why the attempt to appeal to and “move in” a higher tax base with faster subsidized transit does not work. And providing even more tax subsidized transit for another and even smaller group of “workers” is still not going to work either.

        1. Just visualize this county without PSNS workers. The workers who pay property taxes and enrich the local economy by patronizing businesses and therefore generate sales tax and B&O taxes etc. Their spending creates jobs for many different people from wait staff to MDs.

          1. Why would I visualize that since you are simply using it as a re-direction from a point you don’t like being made? The point is that subsidized transportation for a specialized group of limited riders does NOT always add significantly to the tax base. All it does is expedite their entry and departure to and from Bremerton as quickly as possible. That is what the POF is going to do as well. Just like you have ignored all of the other glaring negative points about the POF plan, what has been and is ongoing documented violations of policy, transparency and accountability that have been stated here. No denial of those issues or acknowledgement of the problem is simply just agreement and support on your part.

            If one wants to worry about PSNS workers and their ability to get to and from work one just needs to look at the war on transportation that is being waged by the City of Bremerton Public Works Department and the Mayor on the soon to be narrowed 6th, 11th and Naval Avenues to just 1 lane each direction. Except for the Lunchbox district of 2 or 3 blocks downtown, the money in and out of the economy of Bremerton by out of area shipyard workers is minimal at best. They get on the bus, or in their car and simply get in and out as quickly as possible. Narrowing the streets and forcing their commute time to increase is not going to make them any happier with Bremerton nor will it enable or encourage them to spend more money here.

        2. This area gets federal impact funds for that infrastructure. Your husband benefits from employment based on the expanded delivery of goods that the privileged PSNS workers provide as well as the business that is generated by the Navy’s presence. A lot of that “privileged service” for busing was to reduce the commuting burden on employees AND the City of Bremerton. Remember the gas crisis, available parking reduction (limiting hours to 2 hour street parking). How else are these 14,000 employees supposed to get to work? What magic commuter system is out there to support that. The Navy did the right thing by promoting commuter transportation. It RELIEVED Bremerton of a lot of issues. Housing in Bremerton is pretty limited at best and is only recently beginning to turn around (albeit for attracting Seattlites and not the middle class employee at PSNS). If Bremerton really wants to strategize for success, they would be renovating neighborhoods and developing those areas that make transportation convenient (light rail, expanded bus service). But again through the KT POF plan, they are trying to force the downtown to be what it was when there wasn’t any housing in the county and many did live in Bremerton. No longer holds true due to too many years business infighting for the last dollar (similar to the moving of the anchor stores out of Bremerton). Mayor Lent’s family, here from the early 1900’s, brings with it a century of networking and influence to try and recreate the old city in downtown Bremerton, to Bremerton’s detriment. They really need an economic development professional who isn’t going to buy in to local insider trading initiatives such as the Passenger only ferry debacle.

  8. When I speak of the local economy I mean Kitsap County. As you know, the plans are for fast ferries from Kingston, Bremerton and Southworth.

    1. Sure. But right now the continued success of this and the ability to move the POF plan forward into additional stages is all depending on and focusing on Bremerton right now.

      Bremerton is only 15% of the County Population even if Patty Lent uses it to run herd on the rest of the county as her own personal funding side show. You can almost see her footprints on the backs of at least 2 of the County Commissioners as she steps all over them a majority of the time to gain her objective for Bremerton.

      It is an interesting that now since the voting district gerrymandering attempt has been squashed by citizen outrage that the rest of the county will be voting for and quite possibly paying for, once again, a major benefit for Bremerton while they themselves, the vast majority of taxpayers, languish at the outskirts in a pitiful hope that the entire thing does not go down and fail in a massive ball of flames similar to this…..

      I see a whole lot of No votes coming.

      1. I see someone who is trying to make her community more attractive. A decade or so ago I looked in DT Bremerton to live. Unfortunately, I could not find anything approaching live ability. There are some homes that are architecturally significant, but for the most part, there is a lot of worn out housing stock that is ready for the wrecking ball, and will only get worse if developers don’t come in and do a wholesale gentrification of the area. At least they finally have a bookstore that doesn’t have painted over windows.

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