Letters to the Editor

New terminal is better approach

Jim Larsen’s editorial assumption (“Let’s build them somewhere,” Nov. 28) that “Islanders’ initial reaction no doubt was to criticize Paula Hammond, Washington Secretary of Transportation, for abruptly closing the Keystone to Port Townsend ferry route the Tuesday before Thanksgiving,” is not 100 percent correct. Considering the evidence Ms. Hammond was given (and being on the job less than two months), she’d have been a fool not to have pulled those boats from the water when she did. So, thank you, Ms. Hammond, for making an unpopular but correct decision.

Your editorial also cited allegedly “legitimate traffic and environmental concerns” as an explanation as to why no new terminal yet exists at Keystone. Other news sources have cited upwards of six years and $5.5 million of studies were spent on plans for a new terminal. If those plans had not been opposed so vehemently at the local level, a new terminal would already be in place.

In any case, the closing of this ferry run to vehicular traffic has created a whole new set of traffic and environmental concerns, having essentially closed one of our major highways in the state where that ferry run exists. These concerns seem to outweigh, or at least are somewhat equivalent to, the local concerns raised over the ferry system’s plans for a new terminal: a plan that would have avoided the current debacle from ever having occurred.

To suggest we look worldwide for a ferry builder while dismissing the option of a new terminal at Keystone and modifications to the Port Townsend terminal, seems rather myopic, at best. A new terminal would require no worldwide search, and can likely be accomplished a lot sooner than it would take to fabricate special ferries for a run that comprises less than three percent of all ferry traffic in the state system.

William Burnett

Oak Harbor

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