Monthly Archives: February 2014

Who would pay for fast ferries?

I’m getting a hard time about a story I wrote last week. It was about two bills in the Legislature that would allow Kitsap Transit to create fast ferry districts within its larger bus district. I said the people within those fast ferry districts would vote on a plan for fast ferries. If they passed it, they would pay extra taxes to operate those ferries. Only they would pay.

That’s not exactly right. Everybody who buys something or pays for parking within the district, whichever tax Kitsap Transit chose to use, would pay the tax, whether they lived in the district or not. That’s what I meant and how we’ve always described it. Of course, you wouldn’t be able to charge just the people who live in the district.

So for those suspicious conspiracy sorts who believe I’m trying to mislead people, there’s the explanation. Sorry if it wasn’t clear.

It doesn’t appear a bill will pass, though it’s never over until it’s over in Olympia.


Washington tops in percentage of electric vehicles

Washington has the highest percentage of electric car sales in the nation, according to the state Department of Transportation, with nearly 8,000 registered.
Kitsap is sixth among counties with 233, following King (4,308), Snohomish (807), Pierce (642), Clark (426) and Thurston (287). Those are five of the six counties with larger populations. Spokane County, which has 163, is the other
Top models are Nissan LEAF (4,179), Chevy Volt (1,395) and Tesla Model S (1,064).
Cheap electricity is one of the reasons EVs are popular. Thank you, Columbia River, or what used to be a river. DOT says drivers pay the equivalent of roughly 40 cents per gallon. Electric vehicles also are exempt from sales taxes.

As electric cars continue to improve their range and choices expand, you can bet a lot more people consider them when it’s time to get rid of their current rigs.

Bill would send pot money to ferries, Narrows, first responders

Everybody’s going to want a piece of the pot pie.
Rep. Jesse Young, the Gig Harbor Republican who was appointed to new senator Jan Angel’s seat barely two weeks ago, introduced a bill Friday to use part of the tax revenues from marijuana sales to fund the ferry system, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and fire and police departments.
That would be great for our area. Young would spend $1.25 million to operate and maintain Washington State Ferries and put $625 million in the Tacoma Narrows Bridge fund to try to prevent further toll increases. I think he’s talking about per biennium.
Nearly $1.6 million would go to cities and $625,000 to counties to distribute to fire departments, with like amounts for police.
“With the transportation package seemingly stalled, adequate funding for transportation will be hard to come by,” said Young, who sits on the House Transportation Committee. “It’s not good enough for us in Olympia to simply throw our hands up and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ We need action now, and the new revenues that will come from marijuana offer us a unique way to help out our ferries, and either prevent, or at least offset, potential future toll hikes on the Narrows bridge.”
The ferries for more than a decade have taken money designated for highways to cover their operating expenses. Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolls will reach an average of about $6 in a few years and if traffic doesn’t increase could go even higher. There’s still more than 20 years to pay on the bonds.
The Washington Liquor Control Board is reviewing applications for marijuana producers, processors and retailers and should begin issuing licenses soon.
The initiative that legalized recreational pot — 502 — directs revenues remaining after administering the program to health care, drug abuse treatment and education.

Ferry ridership for Seahawks parade: ‘Never seen anything like it’


It’s official: Wednesday’s Seahawk fan trek to Seattle, through the Bremerton and Bainbridge Island ferry terminals, was one for the record books.

In fact, the trip to catch a glimpse of the Super Bowl champs coming down Fourth Street in Seattle blew away pretty much all previous records, with close to 40,000 people traversing Colman Dock.

For comparison’s sake, here’s some recent high water marks for Washington State Ferries. The counts include all passengers traveling through Colman Dock, on both the Bainbridge Island and Bremerton routes:

·         Independence Day – July 4, 2013 :  14,365

·         Mother Day – May 12, 2013:  15,579

·         Average Wednesday for middle of Summer Schedule (July 17, 2013): 15, 774

·         Thanksgiving – November 27, 2013: 15,923

·         Labor Day – August 30, 2013 (Friday before labor day): 16,021

·         Super Bowl Parade – February 5, 2014: 39,411

“With respect to system history, we have 20 and 30 year WSF veterans who have stated that they have never seen anything like it, with respect to the activity at Colman Dock yesterday,” Washington State Ferries Communications Director Marta Coursey told us Thursday.

It appears there’s just no stopping the 12th man.

Rare confluence of events jams up Navy gate

It’s not often the Seahawks reach the Super Bowl. In fact, it’s happened one other time in 38 years.

Combine that with all the Navy people getting paid at once — shipyard, active duty and retirees — and it’s mayhem trying to get on the Bremerton base and at the commissary with everybody pursuing Velveeta at the same time. Complicating things further, there’s only one gate open on weekends. At least that’s the scenario painted by our good Facebook pals who know the base ropes a lot better than I do.

There was quite a line of cars lined up on Highway 304 waiting to turn left at the Missouri gate.  They were filling up the turn lane and spilling into the next one over. It was like trying to get out of town at 4 p.m. on a weekday.

Hopefully, everybody got in and found their chicken wings and have an incredible Super Bowl Sunday.