Washington State Ferries

compdude787 / Flickr

With four vessels out of service, users of Washington state’s ferry system are coping with disruptions all around Puget Sound. In Anacortes, the international ferry to Sidney, British Columbia is canceled through Friday, and business leaders in Anacortes say they’re concerned that hotels could be hurt on the town’s busiest weekend of the year.  

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Washington State Ferries hopes to restore service to normal on Saturday on Puget Sound.

Capt. George Capacci says that will be made possible by the return of the ferry Wenatchee, which has been in drydock in Vancouver, British Columbia.

WSDOT

After six years on the job, the head of Washington State Ferries says he will step down on April 15.

David Moseley made his announcement Tuesday. His resignation comes as the nation’s largest ferry system continues to encounter choppy seas.

Washington State Ferries

The nation's biggest ferry system is setting a course to convert some of its fleet from diesel to natural gas propulsion. This month, Washington State Ferries formally asked the U.S. Coast Guard to review the proposed changeover. The latest move is another example of fleet operators in the Northwest taking a hard look at cheaper fuel.

Washington State Department of Transportation

The makeover of Seattle's downtown waterfront is picking up steam as the seawall replacement, the viaduct removal, and other major projects gear up for action. Into this mix will come another ambitious renovation—a near-total rebuild of the Washington State Ferries' flagship terminal, the historic Colman Dock.

Compdude123 / Wikimedia Commons

Washington State Ferries has relieved a captain and a second mate of their duties following an accident in the San Juan Islands. Last Friday, a large ferry collided with a sailboat, sinking that much smaller craft.

A spokeswoman for the state ferry system says the captain and second mate of the ferry Hyak have been placed on paid administrative leave.

WSDOT

State lawmakers may reconsider the law that requires new ferries to be built in Washington.

An audit suggested ferries could be built cheaper at shipyards out of state.

The Daily Herald reports the audit is the subject of a legislative hearing Wednesday in Olympia. The audit cost $1.2 million and took a year to complete.

EVERETT, Wash. — Washington State Ferries chief David Mosely says the agency will have to hire nine to 12 employees to comply with a Coast Guard order to increase staffing for safety.

The Coast Guard sent a letter to the state Friday ordering revised staffing by the end of November.

Mosely told The Daily Herald (http://is.gd/pOfWVY) he's not sure how much the revised staffing will cost, but it's more than the ferry system has in its budget.

Smoke from the engine room forced the Seattle water taxi to return to its dock at West Seattle.

Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore says it had a large response before 8 a.m. Friday because of the reported boat fire.

WSDOT

KINGSTON, Wash. — The Kingston-Seattle foot ferry has attracted far fewer passengers than the Port of Kingston expected when the service started in October 2010, and it's future is in doubt.

The Washington state Ferries Division signed a contract Tuesday with Vigor Industrial for a 144-car ferry to be built at the US Fab shipyard, formerly the Todd shipyard, in Seattle.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Reflections from someone who plays one of the more visible security roles in the post-9/11 Northwest:

"My name is Sgt. Kerry Kintzley. I'm a Sergeant with the Washington State Patrol. I work at the Washington State ferry system screening vehicles prior to their boarding. Sissy ... is a four-year-old Lab Vizsla mix trained to detect explosives.

WSDOT

Washington State Ferries hopes to put its newest 64-car vessel, the Salish, into service on Friday.

Spokeswoman Marta Coursey said a problem discovered Monday with a backup generator threatened to delay plans to put the boat to work on the busy Fourth of July weekend, but they’re working on it.

WSDOT

You may see a new Washington State Ferry on Puget Sound waters this week. The Salish is being put through its sea trials. The vessel, built by Todd Pacific Shipyards in Seattle, is expected to begin service this summer on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route. The run has gone without full two-boat service since 2007.

House lawmakers have released their proposed 2011-2013 transportation budget, and it includes less service cuts and a smaller rate hike to Washington's ferry system than Gov. Chris Gregoire's earlier bid.

The House proposal cuts ferry services by $3.1 million, compared to Gregoire's $20 million reduction in her December budget. Gregoire also had proposed a rate hike of 10%. The House proposal puts it at 7.5% in 2011 and 2.5% in 2012.

WSDOT / flickr.com

Two of the state's passenger-only ferries, the Skagit and the Kalama, have been sold to Scope Community Consultants of Coquitlam, B.C., for $400,000. The boats have been tied up at the dock since the state ended passenger-only service in 2009. Their new owner is loading them onto a cargo ship and sending them to Tanzania, where they'll ferry passengers between the mainland and the Zanzibar archipelago.

Here's what's making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Angry Crowd at Seattle Police Accountability Forum
  •  Investigation of John T. Williams shooting Deemed Fair
  • Legislature Nixes Governor's Plan for Regional Ferry Authority

 

Anger, outbursts at forum on Seattle Police conduct

A Seattle police accountability forum at City Hall turned into a shouting match at times, and some demanded the resignation of Police Chief John Diaz. 

KOMO News reports the goal of the Thursday night meeting was to restore trust between police and minorities.

WSDOT / flickr.com

Mukilteo ferry commuters need to make alternate plans for traveling to and from Whidbey Island on three weekends (Friday through Sunday) this spring. The dates are March 18-20, March 25-27 and April 1-3. The Mukilteo terminal is closing for a $2.6 million overhaul of the dock. Commuters will have to either drive around or take special sailings between Edmonds and Clinton.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle are rejecting Governor Gregoire's proposal to fix the state ferry system's chronic deficit by making it into an independent taxing district. 

At a House Transportation Committee hearing yesterday, lawmakers nixed the idea, saying they don't think it has the votes to pass.  And as John Stang of the Kitsap Sun reports, the Chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee says she won't even give the proposal a hearing

Making headlines today:

  • Legislature convenes today
  • State worker job losses add up
  • Seahawks get Chicago next

Josh Oliver, WDFW and Cascadia Research

Making headlines today:

  • Gov's ferry proposal draws fire
  • Red light cameras in the hot seat
  • A bottlenose dolphin spotted in south Sound

It’s sink or swim time for Washington state ferries. That’s the message from Governor Chris Gregoire. The nation’s largest ferry system is under water financially. 

WSDOT

When you visit the Washington State Ferries website in 2011, you'll find something new:  banner advertising.   It's a one year pilot project.  The state is looking for new ways to increase revenue, and that could include advertising on its websites.

AP

The UW boosts its political voice in Olympia; ferry rate increases get the AG's go-ahead; and Thurston County puts the brakes on wood energy projects.

UW Seeks to Raise Political Voice Ahead of Session

The University of Washington is hoping to flex more political muscle with state lawmakers. The school's alumni group is hiring top lobbyists from both parties to advocate for higher education when the legislative session begins next month. 

Twitpic/Reporter_Photo

The state Attorney General weighs in on transportation fees, as some Puget Sound communities prepare to fight proposed ferry service cuts; and sky watchers get a view of last night's total lunar eclipse.

AP Photo

King County deputies' pay-cut plan rejected, a car injures pedestrians at the Pike Place Market, the fight over proposed ferry service cuts heats up, and a popular Seattle language school closes.

Exec Says King County Deputies' Pay Plan Won't Fly

Dow Constantine says a union-offered plan to save taxpayers money would actually cost them more. 

Beth Redfield photo.

The first new car ferry in Washington State in more than a decade enters scheduled service in Port Townsend this morning.  The Chetzemoka (pronounced CHET-za-MOCH-ah) was christened Sunday.