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Reducing ferry service is neither practical nor legal
Legislation in 2007 defined future service and investment decision parameters for WSF.
It is my belief that it is only through re-engagement with our state Legislature that we can resolve the issues that I and other residents of the Kitsap Peninsula have with this plan.
I have read and understand the planning requirements as follows:
Planning requirements: get better information about “customers” travel; improve forecasting for future needs; develop cost management strategies, improve quality and on-time requirements of service while managing costs; review operations to improve asset utilization and manage costs; and change level of service standards to fit current realities.
1. Having participated in the surveys that went out to the riding public, and been a vocal critic of these same as red flags for reduced service and increased costs to local residents and increased costs to local residents who commute on the ferries every day, I believe that information collection for the WSF was flawed and though it will be expensive, this infor information gathering must be revisited. Social research of this nature needs to be randomized.
Also, it is not clear that the number of responses as a subset of overall ridership is truly a representative sample.
2. The Puget Sound region is predicted to continue to grow in terms of population and in economic strength.
Beyond predictions regarding the number of people and the number of jobs, a third consideration — how to maintain the environmental health of the region — must be considered. No forecast for transportation needs that does not address the WSF as a member of mass transit and public transit is complete.
It is not clear that this plan attempts to engage the WSF as a public transit agency as well as a vital part of our state highway system that must be maintained.
3. Costs will increase. Funding issues for the WSF must be revisited and the entire state of Washington must be made aware that the Kitsap Peninsula and the Olympic Peninsula are just as big, and vital to the state’s overall economic health as eastern Washington.
Highway passes must be maintained in the winter, passage across the Puget Sound must be maintained all year round.
This is not an optional tourist route and should not ever be spoken of as a system that can by cut out of the budget.
4. Improving the quality and on-time performance within current funding parameters appears to be an impossible goal. The system is going to fail, just as the viaduct is predicted to fail and it is highly likely that Washington state.
It is the responsibility of the State Legislature to push for solutions to these problems before catastrophic failure occurs.
It appears that our current legislature lacks the will to take a hard stance other than the one of allowing the current situation to worsen.
5. Plan B appears to be what we will get based on the current economic situation unless the entire funding structure to the WSF is revisited.
Go back, raise the issue loudly across the state, and make it clear that all the agencies have to work together in order to maintain one of the major transportation arteries of the state.