April 27th, 2023
No Sidney ferry ‘unacceptable’
On February 28 State Sen. Liz Lovelett, Rep. Alex Ramel, and Rep. Debra Lekanoff of the 40th Legislative District released the following statement:
“Today, the Washington State Ferry Service announced that due to vessel capacity limitations, they are unlikely to resume the Anacortes to Sidney, B.C. service until 2030.
“To say we are extremely disappointed with this announcement is an understatement. This ferry service is a vital connection to our Canadian neighbors as well as a major economic driver for our communities. During the summer, this route provides much-needed additional ferry capacity to the San Juan islands. It’s simply unacceptable that we do not have the vessels necessary to resume this essential service that supports the families in our region and the communities they call home.
“We’ve been working with other legislators for the past four years to fully fund Washington State Ferries. Last year, we secured a historic $350 million commitment to recruit, train and retain the workforce needed for the next decade and over $1 billion toward new vessel construction.
“Even so, our transportation budget was hit hard with the reduction of gas tax revenues during the pandemic. However, we remain vigilant in ensuring our ferry system continues its progress towards providing reliable service and are committed to securing adequate funds to crew runs and build more boats each year.
“We strongly encourage Washington State Ferries to explore other, less impactful, short-term alternatives like leasing additional vessels or providing passenger-only service to Vancouver Island and will keep working with them to find a solution. We stand committed to our communities and to the continued work needed to solve this problem.”
Letters in defense of the international ferry run have also been sent by Anacortes Mayor Matt Miller and former mayors Laurie Gere and Dean Maxwell, as well as a letter from Skagit County commissioners Ron Wesen, Lisa Janicki and Peter Browning.