When it comes to ferries, Mary Margaret Haugen is our best and only hope. Here is a little transportation reality: Everyone knew we had old ferries needing repair and replacement, and everyone knew we needed at least one, preferably two, spare ferries. There were good solid plans for this work to be done. But the voters in Washington negated those plans with the passage of I-695. Much of the ferry funding came from the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax and, without it, no repairs could be done and no replacements could be built. So the legislature went to the people to ask for funding. Again the voters said no.
Without the money, the ferries have deteriorated and, as with the steel electric class, they have reached the point they are only good for scrap. Sen. Haugen has pulled off a minor miracle in getting us replacement ferries – even the borrowed ones we like to complain about.
It takes a majority vote in the Legislature for anything to happen. There are 147 legislators and only 6 of them care anything about the Keystone to Port Townsend ferry. No one east of the Cascades can be convinced to spend a dime on ferries. Seattle wants all the transportation funding for the 520 bridge and the viaduct. When our local officials go to Olympia, they talk to the 10th District delegation. They really need to talk to legislators from Walla Walla, Metaline Falls, Ephrata, and Seattle. Those are the votes we need! Without a leader with the experience and alliances of Mary Margaret Haugen, we’d never get anything. We’d be crazy to vote for anyone else. Those replacement ferries aren’t built yet.