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.