Just one of those government-news-laden days. As promised in our previous report, here’s the official King County Ferry District news release about its $19 million 2009 budget getting unanimous approval at midday today:
The King County Ferry District Board of Supervisors today approved a 2009 budget and work plan that ensures that Vashon Island passenger ferry service will continue and keeps the Elliott Bay Water Taxi on schedule to move to year-round service in 2010.
“I’m pleased this budget will maintain our successful existing service to West Seattle and Vashon Island and will fund the needed upgrades to the Seacrest Park dock to allow for year-round Water Taxi service,” said Board member Dow Constantine.
The Water Taxi carried more than 182,000 riders between West Seattle and downtown this summer, representing a 70 percent increase in ridership over the past three years. The Ferry District also assumed funding of the Vashon Island-to-downtown passenger ferry route this year from the state of Washington.
“We were able to reduce the Ferry District’s effective tax rate, to ensure that existing service is maintained, and to continue our planning process for future demonstration routes,” said Constantine. “Through our actions today, we have charted a prudent course for moving forward with expanded passenger ferry service in King County.”
Board members lowered the average tax bill for district residents by electing to bypass both the allowed annual 1 percent levy increase and the increase for new construction value. Almost three-quarters of 2009 funding will also be held in reserve pending the creation of detailed work plans on proposed demonstration passenger ferry routes by the King County Department of Transportation’s Marine Division.
Under the approved budget, the Ferry District will replace the existing ramp and float at Seacrest Park to allow for year-round Water Taxi service in 2010.
As re-mentioned earlier, a January 15 meeting at Alki Community Center will be your chance to get a closer look at the proposed Seacrest improvements. The search for the Water Taxi’s long-term permanent terminal continues.