Letters to the Editor

Initiative not to blame

The editor (News-Times, Feb. 20) can now run for political office as he has just passed the test: How to successfully blame I-695 for whatever ills that might surface.

I would guess that Tim Eyman would have never known how far reaching his initiative to save the taxpayers some money and maybe make the Legislature more responsible for the money they had coming in and where it was going could be. Up until that time no one knew where that license plate money was going and it was going in a lot of different directions. You might notice now when they increase the fee as they just did, they make a point to state that it will be used for transportation projects. For seven years the Legislature has had the comfort to blame I-695 for whatever mistakes or mismanagement in any area that has come along and they certainly have used it.

From 1983 to 1995 under the Safe Harbor Leases the ferry system was paid by four private companies for the transfer of tax benefits on nine auto ferry vessels a total of $24.8 million. The four taken out of service received a total of $9.7 million. Now mind you this was when you were still paying the big bucks for license plates. There were no figures mentioned what has been taken in since 1995 but all of this is still in place. The contract runs until Dec 30, 2014 on three of the boats and until June 30, 2010 on the other one. For all the years we have had ferries they are just now putting together some kind of program for scheduled maintenance. How many years have we heard about how mismanaged the funds were, paying more people to sit in the office than it took to run them. How many winters did we see one tied to the dock not being used and could have been serviced and yes that means taking a look at the most important part, the part that keeps it a float, the bottom.

Tim, you better get ready for when all the snow melts we have in the mountains. I’m sure you must have had something to do with that and when the flooding begins good old “I–695” will be to blame. I-695 didn’t sink the ferries, WSF did that all on their own.

Byron Kistler

Oak Harbor

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