New federal ferry money: $2 million for King County Water Taxi

July 16, 2009 at 3:41 am | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 15 Comments

U.S. Senator Patty Murray has announced that $7.6 million more transportation dollars are coming to our state for ferry operations - and $2 million is earmarked, we’re told, to go toward a new vessel for the West Seattle run of the King County Water Taxi. (The other money is going toward a Seattle-Bremerton foot ferry, as well as $3 million for Washington State Ferries‘ Anacortes terminal and $750,000 for a new Skagit County ferry terminal serving Guemes Island.) The $2 million would be “more than half the cost” of a new ferry, according to King County Council Chair Dow Constantine‘s office. (Meantime, some of Constantine’s opponents in the King County Executive race continue kicking the Water Taxi around as a political football – eastside State Rep. Ross Hunter, who said the other day that he’d kill the county-run ferries altogether, promises “startling numbers” about passenger ferries at a media briefing this morning — in front of a Lake Union yacht dealership.) 11:27 AM: Daily Weekly has posted a bit about Hunter’s latest anti-KCWT attack.

15 Comments

  1. What a true waste of tax dollars. Greg and Dow’s pet project spends tax dollars that could be providing more value. Taking the bus downtown provides a more cost effective means of transportation with less environmental impact. It is funny how a King County service really only benefits a very small percent of the King County population, true politics.

    Comment by Tom — 7:24 am July 16, 2009 #

  2. Tom, do you take the water taxi? Do you know how easy it is, and that it doesn’t get stuck in traffic like those buses you mention? That it’s fun (don’t know if I could say that of a bus ride either)? That it’s one vehicle that can carry many, many occupants? Yes, all engines pollute – but how many people are choosing to forgo their car and ride the ferry? More buses = more pollution in any case. This isn’t about politics, it’s about providing a viable, reliable, effective means of public transportation. Public transportation is not a for-profit endeavor but a service for the general good; buses are subsidized/the entire ferry system is subsidized. This is a necessary link for those living in West Seattle as it provides an alternate means of getting to downtown (and locales elsewhere by connecting to buses downtown) rather than taking the single route over the bridge. Once the viaduct/tunnel work begins in earnest, this ferry connection will become even more vital.

    Comment by Al — 8:45 am July 16, 2009 #

  3. Adding more buses to already congested roads under construction will do nothing more than add to the traffic which is only going to get worse as the construction projects progress, creating a parking lot of idling cars and buses along the major street routes into downtown. Creating transit routes independent of roads and car traffic allows for greater capacity and access. The water taxi and other foot ferries are the obvious next steps for improving the infrastructure of commuting in the area.

    Comment by austin — 8:50 am July 16, 2009 #

  4. It all comes down to dollars per passenger mile. Or it should, if government wasn’t all about getting re-elected.

    Comment by Kevin — 8:57 am July 16, 2009 #

  5. The water taxi and foot ferries serve a limited portion of West Seattle’s population. If you live south of Alaska Junction, buses continue to make more sense for a “speedy” commute than the water taxi and shuttle (with its 20/45 minute schedule).

    I’d love to take the water taxi but I have to view it as something to do for fun on a weekend and not as a viable option for commuting. Increased funding for more frequent buses in West Seattle would have a much bigger impact on my commute and quality of life.

    Comment by Chris — 9:02 am July 16, 2009 #

  6. Al, it sounds like you’ve been drinking Greg’s coolaid. It takes me three transfers to get down to the ferry, but only two blocks walk to get on a bus that goes straight downtown. Even better, a quick 20 minute bike ride. The ferry is not viable, reliable, or effective, and it is certainly not necessary to link West Seattle to downtown. How do you justify making all of King County home owners pay for your ferry ride. Truth is, this is a publicly funded private taxi so Greg can claim to use mass transit without ever having to sit on a bus.

    Comment by Tom — 9:07 am July 16, 2009 #

  7. Ross, Tom, Kevin and all you nay-sayers…just you wait until the viaduct is closed for repairs….When all the roads out of West Seattle are jammed to the point of not moving the water or cycles will be the only way out.

    Comment by dolly — 10:02 am July 16, 2009 #

  8. The water taxi is most valueable for those who can use the “Water Taxi Land Shuttle” to get to it. That said, it is also awesome for people just being touristy on the Downtown Seattle Water front. It brings tourists over here to West Seattle to see the beach & grab lunch or dinner. Its ideal for people who want to get organized and take a bus to Land Shuttle or directly to the Water taxi. There are MANY MANY people the Water Taxi in Elliot bay help to go places. Like All public transportation, it is not a realistic option for everyone. Sorry, it may not be an every day option for some people. It is still a wonderful help for a lot of people who Do use it.

    Comment by Living in West Seattle since 1985 — 10:28 am July 16, 2009 #

  9. Just because YOU don’t take the water taxi doesn’t meen that it’s not a viable option for OTHERS. I don’t take a bus to Redmond, I don’t take the Route 7 bus to Capitol Hill, so by your logic, get rid of them? Transit is an option not a requirement for your use. It’s there to help move the public in general. More transit options are better than one. King County tax payers pay for all the buses, all the roads, the larger ferry system as a whole not just the water taxi.

    Comment by Al — 10:31 am July 16, 2009 #

  10. I don’t take the water taxi to work (like others who live south of the Junction it’s easier for me to take an express bus) but I think it serves enough WS commuters and brings tourism $$ to our side of Elliott Bay. It’s a good thing and I think it should stay.

    Comment by Paul in Gatewood — 10:57 am July 16, 2009 #

  11. I think everyone has some valid points here…Dolly comment bring out the true value in this at this point in time, as it would provide relief to road congestion during the length of that project. IF there was no looming viaduct project, then I am not sure the Water Taxi makes a lot of sense financially…Dont get me wrong, I love using it, but if it doesnt make financial sense, it doesnt make financial sense.

    With that being said, now that the plan is to go with a tunnel under 1st Ave, and the viaduct will remain up and operational while that is happening, maybe it needs to be re-evaluated. As I said, the Water Taxi got it’s legs when all the talk was around tearing down the Viaduct and replacing it…thus losing that key roadway.

    Comment by Mike — 11:54 am July 16, 2009 #

  12. I think they should use both boats and double the runs! If everyone knew they could catch one every 15/20 minutes even more people would use it and get off the road. I love the bike friendly nature of this option. Bike ± water taxi = best commute in seattle.

    Comment by eric — 12:49 pm July 16, 2009 #

  13. The water taxi is the best thing that’s happened for commuters (North of the Junction) which is a pretty hefty population these days! and with these commuters on the water taxi…it frees up that much more space on the already heavily congested West Seattle Bridge in the AM/PM commutes! Personally, I work from home but LOVE taking it on the beautiful sunny weekend days and like to pretend I’m on vacation!

    Comment by mama2papa — 2:04 pm July 16, 2009 #

  14. Why don’t we all get off our lazy butts and ride our bikes. I ride to downtown on average 9 out of 10 working days. I get over 2,300 miles a year on my bike and that’s just back and forth to work. I don’t ride any other time. It takes me 35 minutes form my door to office. No pollution!

    Comment by john — 10:10 am July 17, 2009 #

  15. What’s wrong with the old boat?

    Comment by Free Lunch — 6:20 pm July 20, 2009 #

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