Election 2009: Hunter says he’d kill West Seattle’s Water Taxi run

State Rep. Ross Hunter is the second candidate in a week to include changes to King County Water Taxi plans as part of a proposal for what he would do if elected King County Executive. Last week, State Sen. Fred Jarrett said he would scuttle plans to expand Water Taxi operations; today, according to West Seattleite Mike Seely writing in the Daily Weekly, Hunter says he would drop the West Seattle-downtown run altogether. Here’s the story. (Hunter and Jarrett are running for the open seat against Water Taxi champion and King County Council Chair Dow Constantine, County Councilmember Larry Phillips, former TV anchor Susan Hutchison and three others; the August 18th primary election will narrow the field to two – could be any two, since it’s now a nonpartisan office. Follow the links here to find out more about all the candidates.)

37 Replies to "Election 2009: Hunter says he'd kill West Seattle's Water Taxi run"

  • 56bricks July 13, 2009 (4:44 pm)

    This would be in step with the city of Seattle’s attitude towards services (actually lack of) for West Seattle. No news here.

  • WSB July 13, 2009 (4:46 pm)

    Well, in this race he’s the only person so far to advocate completely killing the run, which like Metro buses is operated by the county. So that would be the news – TR

  • austin July 13, 2009 (5:18 pm)

    Kudos to politicians for making it clear who not to vote for. Limiting West Seattle’s access to downtown in anticipation of the several massive construction projects along major street routes which are only going to get worse is at best very poor decision making. More vehicles on the roads is not the answer.

  • Karlyross July 13, 2009 (5:41 pm)

    Very good point, Austin. Ppl really need to keep the whole viaduct/tunnel fiasco in mind when voting. Once this starts, the only hassle free way to get to downtown from WS is really going to be the water taxi. Expanding service, at least while the viaduct/tunnel mess is happening, only makes sense. And yes, in my mind, this candidate is only putting a big sign on his forhead that says, ‘Don’t Vote for Me!’.

  • bridge to somewhere July 13, 2009 (5:41 pm)

    not a great strategy for capturing the west seattle vote, mr. hunter, irrespective of the budget issues . . .

  • westseattleite July 13, 2009 (5:42 pm)

    I second Austin, with the viaduct about to come down and the amount of congestion and headaches West Seattle is about to face who on earth would advocate getting rid of the water taxi. I would definitely NOT vote for this person. Is everyone in West Seattle supposed to swim to work during construction?

  • Bonnie July 13, 2009 (5:51 pm)

    I know who NOT to vote for now.

  • Joan July 13, 2009 (5:54 pm)

    Now I know who NOT to vote for. Obviously they do not live on our lovely peninsula.

  • miws July 13, 2009 (5:57 pm)

    I have to admit that I didn’t know, off the top of my head, that these guys represent the Eastside.


    Doesn’t surprise me one bit. In fact, that was the first thing that came to mind, as I read this.



  • Michelle Skweerl July 13, 2009 (5:57 pm)

    Then what? Bring back the mosquito fleet ?

  • J July 13, 2009 (6:00 pm)

    Somehow, I don’t think he’s angling for the West Seattle vote.

  • Jill July 13, 2009 (6:01 pm)

    Oh, come on westseattlite, you mean you didn’t hear that the mayor sez we’re all s’posed to ride our bikes? You don’t mind torn up pavement and mingling with semis, right? (I mean, you didn’t expect any improvements on that front either, I hope.)

  • Alcina July 13, 2009 (6:24 pm)

    Actually, I think Hunter is being very strategic politically by saying this in his bid for KC Exec. There are more voters in South King County now than in the City of Seattle…win East and South King County and you win by a landslide. I am sure there are many voters outside of Seattle who aren’t thrilled they are getting taxed to pay for the West Seattle Water Taxi.

  • Forest July 13, 2009 (6:36 pm)

    Now that’s what I call a WSB headline so punny (“Hunter says he’d kill…”) that it hurts.

  • WSB July 13, 2009 (6:46 pm)

    OMG Forest, I honestly wasn’t even trying. I have been working much of the day on a big story that I hope to FINALLY publish within the hour and have been taking quick breaks to post smaller tales like this. Truth be told, I was looking for a shorter word (lower-case L’s take up L-ess space) than “discontinue” … TR

  • JimmyG July 13, 2009 (7:02 pm)

    As long as King County is in the midst of making sweeping cuts to public safety and basic services then why should the County fund a water taxi used by a very small percentage of the county population? It’s a luxury the gov’t shouldn’t be funding.

    If it is so important to the commuters of WS then let it be run as a private enterprise.

  • Dreamland July 13, 2009 (7:10 pm)

    That brings forth a question, why aren’t there more (any) private water taxis? Is there some reason for a lack of them? Pardon my ignorance on this, just curious.

  • mike green July 13, 2009 (7:28 pm)

    once again we know who not to vote for !!


  • WSB July 13, 2009 (7:33 pm)

    Dreamland – a couple of companies have tried on other routes in Puget Sound. Like bus transit, it seems to require a subsidy of some sort to stay afloat, so to speak. The Water Taxi, as I understand it, actually recovers more at the farebox than some other transit services – I will see if I can find the info … TR

  • JanS July 13, 2009 (8:02 pm)

    seems we have a choice…require any candidate elected for this position who is against the water taxi to move to West Seattle for the entirety of his term…or in the immortal word(s) of I’m not sure who…secede ;-)

  • Babs July 13, 2009 (8:15 pm)

    Ditto, I know WHO NOT to vote for now. Has no vision, no insight that the Puget sound can be pimped out for a water highway from West Seattle, one with charm and easy access. When the viaduct comes down that taxi will become a even sweeter route to DT. The strategy (or lack of) for capturing the west seattle vote by coming out with this makes me wonder. Next we will hear he supports a snow shovel hand out DT during blizzards…

  • M. July 13, 2009 (8:16 pm)

    Totally UNCOOL! Won’t vote for his dumba**.

  • U.Dist July 13, 2009 (8:48 pm)

    Another reason to vote for Dow Constantine…

  • Alvis July 13, 2009 (9:47 pm)

    It’s a given that West Seattle will vote Dow Constantine for King County Exec. That said, the other candidates have absolutely nothing to lose and perhaps something to gain by urging voters from the rest of the county to resent Dow’s home turf and our supposed privileges. Similar dynamic was at play in the phony reports last winter about city snow plows having cleared West Seattle’s streets first because the mayor lives here.

  • Living in West Seattle since 1985 July 13, 2009 (10:19 pm)

    Anyone who wants to end the Water Taxi is NOT looking at the bigger picture! The Water Taxi makes life much easier for sports game traffic as well as during road work of any kind on 1st, I-5, or the Viaduct. It makes life better for people all over the city because it takes cars off the roads. Anyone who wants to end the Water Taxi should Try to go through Seattle After a game lets out. Tell me then if its a good idea to take away public transportation. Some how the city lost the bus shuttles going directly to the games. Those really alleviated traffic, isn’t that what public transportation is all about? The Water Taxi, and other services like it, make traffic flow more efficient by making alternative rides convenient and affordable! Every little bit helps!

  • PCO37 July 13, 2009 (10:47 pm)

    This evening Dow said that the W Seattle water taxi is now getting over 30% from the farebox. That is better than Metro transit that gets 20-25%. He said he would use the same criteria as Metro uses on routes to determine which, if any, ferry routes there would be.

  • d July 13, 2009 (11:03 pm)

    Maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t part of the envisioned game plan with the new Ferry District to explore MORE “ports of call”, if you will, down the road (er, waterway). I seem to remember mention of possible expansion to include water taxi/catamarran/ferry routes in Renton, as well as the Eastside. It’s been my understanding, and hope, that the West Seattle Water Taxi is a prototype or test for not just WS, but the entire region. And that those plans gave supporters and planners working toward that end.

    The visionary model for the new Ferry District, to my way of seeing is Vancouver, B.C. It appears these politicians lack any vision, even at the expense of their constituents – future water taxi riders who live in Southeast King County who would be served by a Renton location on the Lake, not to mention the other conceivable locations on the eastside of the Lake.

    Thanks to Mike Seely and WSB for clueing us in on these yahoos.

  • WSB July 14, 2009 (2:00 am)

    Yes – that’s what the current administration calls for – trying “demonstration routes” that might cross Lake Washington, or possibly utilize Elliott Bay in the other direction (to Magnolia? or?). As we have heard it pointed out in discussions, while we are somewhat out of room and money to build more highways, we have lots of room on the water to move people around …

  • Karen July 14, 2009 (8:14 am)

    I hope the waterfront businesses think about this, too. We recently purchased a membership to the aquarium because we could take the water taxi.

  • Dreamland July 14, 2009 (8:24 am)

    I think more water taxis make a lot of sense. I had heard rumors of a Shilshole run for the Ballard and maybe even Magnolia folks. And Lake WA runs. I think it would be great! And tourists could certainly take advantage of the different perspective from the water. I’ve taken a couple of small whale watching tours in the Sound and it’s such a different experience (in a good way) from being on a large ferry or just bypassing the water in favor of roads.

  • dawsonct July 14, 2009 (12:07 pm)

    Moving people from Magnolia/Ballard to Shilshole and then floating them around West Point to Downtown doesn’t make ANY sense. Shilshole to Edmonds and Everett might make sense, unless ST expands Sounder service to something more than just a commuter run.
    Fauntleroy to Tacoma, Pt. Defiance and Gig Harbor would be cool.

  • WSB July 14, 2009 (12:16 pm)

    I’ve always wondered why there’s no Seattle-Tacoma fast foot ferry!

  • jiggers July 14, 2009 (2:10 pm)

    If you have a car and don’t use any public services(Metro etc….), Ross Hunter is your man..

  • Suits are not boring July 14, 2009 (3:34 pm)

    It is interesting to note that the King County Ferry District was created by the state. This was not authority the County requested. Yes, they were running the water taxi with Argosy, but not Vashon. The State passed legislation giving authority for some of the smaller ferry runs. It is interesting that the State Legislator running for County Exec now sees this as something in the frivolous category.

  • Pelicans July 14, 2009 (8:11 pm)

    What the h***? If Jarret and Hunter want to commit political suicide before they even get started, then go ahead and mess with the Elliott Bay Water Taxi. The constant increase in ridership, even before the construction starts on the viaduct, is evidence enough that we need it. What are you guys thinking–are you that out of touch with what is really going on???!!! Neither of you will ever get my vote.

  • Alcina July 15, 2009 (9:00 am)

    Westneat’s column in todays Seattle Times is about the Water Taxis and cost

  • WSB July 15, 2009 (9:13 am)

    Without even opening the studies yet (I’m in the middle of three other things) I don’t doubt the numbers. However, regarding the fact that West Seattle is not an island, I’ve sat through the South Portal Working Group meetings regarding forthcoming construction in the 99 “corridor” that so many West Seattleites use for cars AND buses. The projections are for eight years of lane-reduced construction ahead. Yes, technically the “traffic keeps flowing” with tunnel construction instead of, say, a new Viaduct, but it will be quite constricted. And suddenly the boat to downtown may look like a much better idea for more people. Scroll through our coverage of what we flippantly called “Freeway Fright ’07” two years ago when WSDOT did major construction on I-5 and warned of resulting gridlock. The Water Taxi drew hundreds of extra riders each morning, even without the calamity materializing (which may have been, as noted at the time, because so many people diverted to transit). Interesting photos including Seacrest lines and full boats:

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