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.
â€śIâ€™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,â€ť 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.
â€śWe were able to reduce the Ferry Districtâ€™s effective tax rate, to ensure that existing service is maintained, and to continue our planning process for future demonstration routes,â€ť said Constantine. â€śThrough our actions today, we have charted a prudent course for moving forward with expanded passenger ferry service in King County.â€ť
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 Transportationâ€™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.