Monthly Archives: June 2014

Ferry names cut down to three

Those are the names you chose for a new Bremerton ferry. Now you need to pick one to submit to the state Transportation Commission.
The vessel will be the third in the 144-car Olympic class. The first two are Tokitae, which is supposed to begin service Tuesday on the Mukilteo-Clinton run, and Samish, which will serve the San Juan Islands early next year.
Two weeks ago, Washington State Ferries signed a $112.6 million change order authorizing construction of the third boat. It’s not expected to be finished until early 2017.
The ferries system will soon tell the Transportation Commission by when it needs a name, and the commission will solicit them. There will be several proposals. Seven were considered for the last two boats. Those not selected were Ivar Haglund, Cowlitz, Hoquiam, Muckleshoot and Sammamish. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try again.
I know the Manette community is campaigning for Enetai. I like it, and we got several votes for it, but not enough to break into the top three. Others finishing just out of the running were Angeline and Kalaloch.
There are lots of good names, but we want to propose one based on your votes because the ferry will be serving the Kitsap area.
A couple names I really like that came in late are Kloomachin, which means killer whale in the Sklallam language, and Sholeetsa, who was Chief Seattle’s mother. Maybe next time.
Let’s look at the finalists:
Illahee means “land,” “country” or “place where one lives.” in the Chinook language. A community three miles north of Bremerton, which was a Mosquito Fleet stop, took the name, as well as a state park in the same vicinity. A state ferry was also named Illahee from 1940 until 2009. It was removed from service in 2007 because of hull corrosion, sold in 2009 and scrapped in Mexico.
Suquamish translates to “people of the clear salt water.” It’s the name of a tribe that lives on the Port Madison Reservation and a town within the reservation, another former Mosquito Fleet stop. There has never been a ferry called Suquamish. Two are named for Suquamish chiefs, Kitsap and Sealth.
Washington State Trooper Tony Radulescu, of Port Orchard, was shot to death on a traffic stop by a felon in February 2012. There’s a memorial for him at the District 8 headquarters in Bremerton.
Choosing Radulescu would be bucking the trend. The Transportation Commission likes consistency, and all but one of the ferries have Native American names. Its policy says it’ll consider people’s names, but only if they’ve been dead 20 years, possess enduring fame, and played a significant historical role in the region.
Illahee, Suquamish or Radulescu. Vote for your favorite and we’ll tally them up in a week or so, announce the winner and start vetting it with local groups and officials.

Logjam leaving Colman Dock being broken

Bremerton drivers will get the green light this week after being stuck at Colman Dock by construction.
When Bremerton and Bainbridge ferries unload in Seattle at the same time, at least four times a day, Bremerton vehicles aren’t allowed north out of the terminal to Marion Street because of seawall replacement project. They’re all forced right, to Yesler Way, where there’s no traffic sensor, so the light stays green for just a short time. It can take more than half an hour to clear the dock.
When Bremerton drivers can use both Marion and Yesler, the light stays green longer because the sensor is on Marion.
The Seattle Department of Transportation will be installing a new override system this week to let ferry workers manually trigger a longer green cycle at Yesler.
I don’t know exactly how if works, whether there’s a sensor in the traffic signals or in the pavement or somewhere else that can tell how many cars are backed up and is smart enough to keep the light green. I just know when the cars are lined up turn toward Marion, the light stays green longer. The manual system should take a bite out of the Yesler wait.

Washington ranks ninth in gas tax

Washington collects the ninth-highest gas taxes in the country, at 37.5 cents per gallon, the Tax Foundation showed on a cool map last week. It used new data from the American Petroleum Institute.
At the extremes were California No. 1 at 53.2 cents and Alaska 50th at 12.4 cents.
If you’re driving into Washington from neighboring states, you might want to stop in Idaho (25.0 cents) or Oregon (31.1 cents) and get gas before crossing the border.
Rounding out the top five are Hawaii (50.3 cents), New York (49.9), Connecticut (49.3) and Michigan (39.3). Bringing up the rear are New Jersey (14.5), South Carolina (16.8), Oklahoma (17.0) and Missouri (17.3).
These numbers don’t include the 18.4 cent federal excise that goes on top.
Gas taxes generally go toward funding transportation infrastructure maintenance and new projects. It’s a user fee in that it loosely connects users of roads with the costs of enjoying them, but not as perfectly as tolls.

71 cents of every Narrows toll dollar goes toward debt

WSDOT put a graphic on its blog showing how tolls for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge are sliced up according to costs. In the state’s last fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013, 71 cents of every dollar went to pay for debt service. Another 12 percent was stashed in a reserve fund. Then there’s 5.3 percent to pay Transcore, the toll-collection vendor, 3.2 percent for ETCC, the customer service center vendor, and 2.4 percent for insurance. After that it gets pretty piddly for things like credit card fees, consultants and maintenance.
Dollarswise, $63.6 million in tolls was collected.
Tolls will be rising by 25 cents on July 1. They’ll be $4.50 for Good To Go! transponders, $5.50 for drivers paying at toll booths and $6.50 for Pay By Mail. It’ll cost the average weekday commuter about $65 more a year. The tolls keep going up because of escalating debt payments.