Coupeville finds terminal name change money
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
August 3, 2010 · Updated 3:13 PM
How much is a name change? For the ferry system, it looks like about $9,000 per letter.
The state Department of Transportation will have to shell out approximately $90,000 to change the name of the Keystone ferry terminal to the 10-letter “Coupeville” ferry terminal.
To help the ferry system pay the costs of the name change, the town was recently awarded $41,000 in federal Transportation Enhancement dollars by the Skagit / Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization.
“Since we were the ones initiating the request, I thought we could be involved with paying the cost involved,” Mayor Nancy Conard said.
The RTPO awarded the grant on July 28.
The Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce with help from Conard and others successfully lobbied the Washington State Transportation Commission last month to change the name of the Central Whidbey ferry terminal, arguing the name Coupeville is more recognizable than Keystone.
Coupeville, Oak Harbor and Langley, along with state legislators and Whidbey-based chambers of commerce, all endorsed the name change. The local ferry advisory board was against it.
Federal transportation enhancement dollars were given to the Washington State Department of Transportation which dispersed portions of the federal money to the 14 RTPOs that cover 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Only San Juan County isn’t represented in an RTPO.
Coupeville town leaders will take the grant money and turn it over to Washington State Ferries to pay for part of the name change costs.
The ferry system expects to pay $40,000 in “hard costs” for printed materials and $50,000 is needed to pay for technology changes, staffing, and to develop a communications plan to inform riders of the pending switch.
Conard said she consulted with ferry officials to determine the $41,000 amount to request from the RTPO.
Marta Coursey, communications director for the Ferries Division, described the news of the grant as “great.”
The name change comes as the ferry system puts the finishing touches on the Chetzemoka, which was scheduled to start serving the Port Townsend to Coupeville route Aug. 29. However, ferry workers are busy resolving a vibration issue in the vessel’s driveline. Nearly a week after discovering the problem, ferry officials didn’t know as of Wednesday afternoon whether the issue will affect the Aug. 29 inaugural sailing, Coursey said.
That’s the same date the Keystone Ferry Terminal officially becomes the Coupeville Ferry Terminal.
RTPO money spread around
In addition to the $41,000 awarded to Coupeville, Island Transit was awarded $50,000 by the Regional Transportation Planning Organization to build five bus shelters, which includes the installation of concrete pads and bicycle racks. The agency received an additional $50,000 to build a bus pullout, shelter and bike rack near the intersection of Highway 525 and Woodard Avenue in Freeland.
Island County Public Works received $198,000 to complete engineering and design of a non-motorized trail along Highway 525 near Freeland. RTPO transportation planner Donna Keeler said the trail would be similar to the one recently constructed connecting Coupeville to Rhododendron Park.Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.