West Seattle Chamber to county: Don’t kill the Water Taxi

As ballots go out today, the King County Water Taxi has become more and more of a political football in the campaign for county executive, with at least three candidates saying they want to end funding for the King County Ferry District, which runs the West Seattle-Downtown and Seattle-Vashon routes, and a new proposal from County Executive Kurt Triplett last week to shelve funding for “demonstration routes.” The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has just sent an open letter to county government, noting that anyone who wants to make sure the Water Taxi remains available to West Seattle might consider doing the same. Read on for the letter:

Kurt Triplett
King County Executive
King County Courthouse

Dear Mr. Triplett,

The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce is very concerned about reports we are hearing that plans for ferry operations may be cancelled which might include cancelling the King County Water Taxi which serves West Seattle.

We wholeheartedly appreciate the County Council’s work that resulted in its approval and formation of the King County Ferry District. That planning and approval constitute an obligation to which we wish to hold the council .

Creation of the King County Ferry District was insightful and serves a number of regions that are not so readily served by King County¹s Metro ¬ and light rail – transit systems. Residents of King County who do not have to deal with water barriers would, no doubt, be more supportive of the ferry system were they surrounded by water with essentially only a single bridge to connect a large population to jobs and required services.

West Seattle has experienced diminished service by the Metro system, witnessed the delay in projected service by a BRT system, and have not heard that the County plans to provide any light rail service to our community any time soon. Addiontionally, construction on the south end of the Alaskan Way Viaduct project makes an alternative commute system even more imperative.

The decision to support our community with ferry service was supported in whole by the King County Council. We applaud the Council for its decision to serve our community with a permanent Water Taxi service; it is a decision that must be carried forward, along with capital improvements already approved and scheduled.


Cal Kinnear
Chair, West Seattle Chamber of Commerce

Patricia Mullen
President & CEO

cc: Dow Constantine, Chair, Metropolitan King County Council

To e-mail the county executive, go here. To e-mail county councilmembers, go here. To e-mail candidates who have called for ending the Ferry District/Water Taxi service, find contact info on their websites:
Susan Hutchison
Ross Hunter
Fred Jarrett
Larry Phillips

23 Replies to "West Seattle Chamber to county: Don't kill the Water Taxi"

  • Cheryl July 29, 2009 (4:53 pm)

    Are they KIDDING? Way to f*ck us over King County!

    Le sigh.

  • MargL July 29, 2009 (5:28 pm)

    I guess folks could also go to KC’s final county-wide strategic plan meeting tomorrow in the Hall at Fauntleroy and say the same …

  • charlabob July 29, 2009 (5:36 pm)

    They’re after the water taxi, which is certainly no longer experimental” as a way of going after Dow. The two candidates endorsed by the times are from the east side — “for balance.”

    We definitely should go to any KC meetings and make the Seattle presence and clout known.

  • katemca July 29, 2009 (5:55 pm)

    With changes and construction coming to the viaduct already threatening to turn traffic to and from West Seattle into a nightmare, cutting off funding for the Water Taxi (when ridership has been steadily increasing!) is maybe the dumbest campaign slogan I’ve ever encountered. No votes for you!

  • gidget July 29, 2009 (6:03 pm)

    What a great idea! Let’s get rid of the water taxi just as its really starting to gain ridership and while more and more traffic challenges will be presented to West Seattlites with the various viaduct replacement construction projects. Genius!

  • jack ira baker July 29, 2009 (7:11 pm)

    Everyone wants to conserve County resources in these times, but we all know that this ferry generates money on both sides of the Bay. Furthermore have County economists forecasted impacts for businesses and commuters, not only in the short term, but have they considered long term gains as the service grows?

    Getting the taxi up and going came dearly to us, the momentum is a value in hand. Closing it down will come dearly to perfunctory “leaders.”.

  • Jeannie July 29, 2009 (7:12 pm)

    Scary that Susan Hutchison is actually showing strong in the polls. Attacking the water taxi is a sleazy political ploy. Vote for Dow, and don’t let the lunatics take away the water taxi. I’m emailing the county right now – let’s bombard them with our messages!

  • CandrewB July 29, 2009 (7:22 pm)

    No one is getting rid of the Water Taxi; it is just political posturing for the crank vote.

  • JanS July 29, 2009 (7:24 pm)

    West Seattle-ites…vote with your heart and your pocket book…we have enough people on our peninsula to make a difference. Let these candidates know that there’s no way in hell you’ll support them …do not contribute to them, do not vote for them…and write , write, write until your fingers can’t anymore…

  • Jeannie July 29, 2009 (7:29 pm)

    Right on, JanS. CandrewB, you might be correct, but we shouldn’t make assumptions. The road to hell is paved with passivity and inaction. It takes just 5 minutes to email the powers that be. And I’d like a list of businesses that have contributed to the water-taxi opponents, because I’d be sure to let them know they’ve lost my business. Have to wonder if some of the backers of the anti-water-taxi gang are the downtown parking companies and the expensive tour boats (e.g., Argosy) that are actually not as fun as the water taxi!

  • Tjss July 29, 2009 (7:55 pm)

    This is pretty cynical on the part of Jarrett, Hunter, and Phillips. The first two voted three times in the legislature to create and support the King County Ferry District. Phillips was a vocal supporter of passenger ferries literally until last week. They’re desperate to beat Dow in the upcoming primary, so they’re changing their tune. I’m more convinced than ever that Dow is the best choice!

  • clark5080 July 29, 2009 (7:55 pm)

    Isn’t the problem that the Water taxi is part of the new Ferry District which is proving to be a very big budget problem for the county while serving a very small number of people on Vashon with the foot ferry?

    Personally I think the County needs a big change and Dow and Larry Philips are part of the problem they are the people along with Ron Sims who have gotten the County in the budget mess we have now. Now Dow’s commercials say he is for change? Seems like it will be more of the same to me.
    Personally I think Fred Jerrett or Ross Hunter would do a better job at straightening the budget mess out.


  • Jeannie July 29, 2009 (7:58 pm)

    Clark5080, do you really think Eastside candidates are working in the interest of the people of Seattle? I hardly see them as saviors of the county’s budget.

  • JanS July 29, 2009 (8:04 pm)

    Actually, they could start with cutting Mr. Phillips position – money saved right there!…or making him live in WS without the water taxi, when the viaduct cluster you-know-what starts. I can’t believe that anyone living in west seattle would opt for that before asking where else a cut might come from. We all know things need to change, and I have a feeling that a couple of lobbyists, one council position eliminated..and a little really hard looking might be better than to go backwards just when transportation for West Seattle might…and that’s a BIG MIGHT…get better.

    Eastside people haven’t got a clue what it’s about over here…as long as 520 and 90 are taken care of, they’re happy…to hell with the rest of us…

  • Living in West Seattle since 1985 July 29, 2009 (8:18 pm)

    I just think it would be a real shame if its ever taken away. Maybe someone will come in and make the water taxi a private service.

  • Carole July 29, 2009 (8:20 pm)

    clark5080: A very large part of the county’s problem is the money lost due to Eyman, particularly the car tab initiative. A good portion of that money went to the criminal justice system. It’s taken a few years fo rthe impact to trulybe felt in part because the housing boom masked the revenue loss. Couple that with the other tax limitations approved by voters in the last few years, and the recession brought on in large part by federal spending levels over the last 8 years, and you have budget holes. This is not unique to King County or WA state – it is virtually nationwide, and cannot be laid at the feet of one or two politicians. Everyone wants more and longer jail terms, more police, more services, etc., but no one wants to pay for them.

  • clark5080 July 30, 2009 (1:09 am)

    The problem is King County continuing to spend above their means

  • JanS July 30, 2009 (7:41 am)

    as is the world, including you and me….we’re in a recession…we want everything, and want it for free…the world doesn’t work that way, unfortunately.

  • austin July 30, 2009 (8:27 am)

    Charge twenty bucks for every car coming over lake washington and channel the money into the ferry district.

  • KSJ July 30, 2009 (9:00 am)

    Thanks WSB for providing links to contact Mr. Triplett. I just sent him an e-mail and it only took three minutes. (Come on everyone, let’s bombard the man.)

  • Darkwing Duck July 30, 2009 (9:22 am)

    Susan Hutchison has repeatedly stated she will protect West Seattle and Vashon’s existing ferry routes.

    Susan’s criticism is of the millions spent to fund “future exploration” and “demonstration routes” in South County and across Lake Washington.

  • Ombudsman Man July 31, 2009 (3:39 pm)

    Yeah, just got an email back from Susan Hutchinson saying the same thing that Darkwing Duck there just noted: She supports the Water Taxi and Vashon foot ferry but not Lake Washington Taxi explorations.

    Could the WSB please clarify this point immediately!?!

    Ballots are in people’s homes and you may have severely handicapped one of the candidates!

  • WSB July 31, 2009 (3:54 pm)

    They have never responded to our requests to get media information, unlike just about every other candidate in every major race. This summarized other coverage in which she has called for ending the Ferry District, and that’s the governmental body that provides the WT service.
    This one summarizes her as supporting keeping WS and Vashon “for the time being.”
    I will see who’s handling her media now and try again. Meantime, I see she’s also joined Facebook recently, so if I don’t get an answer through conventional channels, maybe she’ll answer a message there – TR

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