Letters to the Editor

Planning not to maintain

In November 2007, Washington State Ferries was asked by the state Legislature why it had not maintained any of the Steel Electric ferry hulls for the last 18 months. WSF stated it was caught “flat footed” by the Legislature’s decision, based on local opinion, to scrap WSF’s one-ferry plan either inside or outside Keystone Harbor. Let’s look at the following timeline:

WSF begins its Environmental Impact Statement in secret.

WSF holds three scoping meetings having already decided to move the terminal outside of Keystone Harbor and use one Issaquah-class ferry on the run.

A citizen action group is formed including Mayor Conard. Six meetings are held. Based on local residents’ comments, the group recommends keeping the ferry within the terminal.

WSF proposes major construction of Port Townsend terminal for one ferry service and proposes six different options for Keystone including a terminal outside Keystone Harbor.

WSF caught “flat footed.” All Steel Electric ferries pulled from service based on Coast Guard inspection.

In 2003, WSF estimated six years to complete the EIS at a cost of $31.4 million.

In 2005, and again in 2006, WSF in its Keystone Project Updates estimated construction would not begin on Keystone Harbor until 2010 and noted construction would not occur during summer months due to returning fish populations.

Assuming a miracle occurred and WSF received its EIS as estimated in 2009 and construction began on Keystone Harbor in 2010, completion of a new terminal with new ferries could not have occurred until (at the earliest) 2012 to 2014, which is around 72 months from today’s date.

Including the last 18 months during which WSF has performed no maintenance on the Steel Electric ferry hulls, apparently WSF was planning on not maintaining the hulls for approximately 90 months or 7.5 years.

Daniel P. Thompson


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