Gregoire: Counties should take over state ferries

Jan 6, 2011

It’s sink or swim time for Washington state ferries. That’s the message from Governor Chris Gregoire. The nation’s largest ferry system is under water financially. 

Gregoire says the state can no longer afford to run the ferries. So, the Democratic governor proposes to create a regional ferry district that would tax people who live in the Puget Sound communities most dependent on the ferries:

 “It’s over folks, you gotta find a solution. So if you don’t like my idea, I accept that. What I do not accept and cannot accept is we walk out of here with another Band Aid. We have got to step up to this challenge and solve it,” says Governor Gregoire.

Under Gregoire’s proposal, the state would still fund a portion of the ferry system. But the regional ferry district would take over operations and be responsible for finding a new source of revenue to keep the boats afloat.

Gregoire says the ferry budget has been sinking ever since Washington voters repealed the motor vehicle excise tax in 1999.