Realtor group comes out against fast ferry plan

The Kitsap County Association of Realtors, a strong supporter of past passenger-only ferry efforts, won’t back the plan Kitsap Transit is putting on the November ballot.

Association executive Mike Eliason said the organization’s government affairs committee listened to presentations Monday from Kitsap Transit executive director John Clauson and Poulsbo mayor Becky Erickson, a transit board member and POF foe.

“We’re going to be opposing the ballot initiative during this election cycle,” Eliason concluded. “It’s obviously a big change for us because we’ve been big supporters of passenger-only ferries and I think we can continue to be, but we’re not great fans of this particular plan.”

The 18-person committee was concerned about the boats themselves. Members worried about the foil-assisted Rich Passage 1’s endurance, and the potential for Rich Passage shoreline owners to knock it out with another lawsuit. They also believe adequate fare recovery would require larger boats than the proposed 150-passenger ferries for Kingston and 250-seaters for Southworth.

“You can take two days of passengers on one run of the car ferries,” Eliason said.

Bottom line, the plan fails the cost-benefit analysis, he said.

“For $460 million, our committee members wondered if it was worth the cost when the largest percent of those people (who would ride the POF) already are using the (state) ferries now,” he said. “It’s just a matter of convenience.”

The service would accommodate a maximum of 1,100 riders a day, who would be subsidized by the county’s other 260,000 residents, he said.

“It ultimately comes down to almost half a billion dollar financial commitment, and it’s risky,” Eliason said. “We’re still very much supportive of the passenger-only ferry concept, but not this particular ballot measure.

Several association realtors are high on the plan, including some who are part of a committee formed to support it, but they’re not on the government affairs committee, Eliason said.

The Realtors were the first group to publicly support or oppose the ferry plan.

4 thoughts on “Realtor group comes out against fast ferry plan

  1. Good move on the part of the Realtor Association. This right here is proof positive that when you sit influential community impact groups or individuals down to push aside all of the “fairy dust” and simply lay out all of the “facts” a rather quick realization that this is a very BAD plan when it comes to economic, taxpayer and community impact comes to light.

    Facts that include doing all the math for the short and long term using Kitsap Transits own numbers from all of their sources.

    Facts that include the information being put out at the sub-committee levels that never sees the light of day in the press or through the newly minted and glorified PIO Marketing position that is costing taxpayers an additional $80K and netting next to nothing when it comes to putting out the real conversations going on about where this organization is looking to gut county services to pay for this eventual multi-million dollar monstrosity of a plan.

    I predict that as the entire picture is painted with all of the fact and then processed by the community, more and more groups like the Realtor Association will begin to add their collective voices to the NO side of this plan.

    I would encourage the Kitsap Transit board to NOT continue to risk the entire reputation of their organization for the long term by continuing forward with a bad plan that by all indications is going to go down in a rather large ball of flames with the voting population. It may take more than a few political careers down in flames with it.

    Instead, remove John Clausen from the Directorship position.

    Faith in his ability as a steward, after hiding and lying about the Task Force, what it did and how it got paid is far too damaged at this point to be repaired.

    Hire a new director for a fresh start and cleaner slate with the taxpaying public.

    Then pull this plan off the ballot and bring it back to the table. Allow the process to be inclusive, fair, transparent, accountable and respectful to the taxpayers and their money. Warts and all, it needs to be all out there, full frontal in the public eye. Every bit of it.

    Put a POF plan in place that best serves the overall ridership of this community and not just a small group of out of county workers, politicians, property owners and developers.

    Scale back the amount of tax being asked for on the POF and include a 1/10th of 1% to go directly to improving BUS service. So that the entire population of ridership sees some benefit to and has a buy-in with the additional taxes being asked for.

  2. “Bottom line, the plan fails the cost-benefit analysis”

    Mike Elliason of the Realtors is right on here , PO boats would be a benefit some of us , but government seems to consider the costs secondary more often then not . The plan is non sustainable , and only takes away passengers at the fare box of the state system , already dependent on the fare box ” 75 percent” for their price on fares .

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