It's not fast, but it still floats

Now that Bremerton’s passenger-only boats are being sunk by Washington State Ferries to save costs, WSF is trying to come up with a response plan that actually floats.

Last week, a gaggle of ferry employees spent two days riding the passenger-only routes.

Not for leisure, mind you — they were actually hunting for public opinion.

intended to replace the 1927-era steel electrics.

Local highway projects under the two-year budget, which hinges on existing revenues, would be in the works under the plan, as well, including improvements to State Route 305.

The two-year budget allocates $2.3 million for work on Highway 305 from the Poulsbo City limits to Bond Road, and another $1.2 million for paving on Highway 305 from Seabold Road to Noll Road.

House sources say the Senate also expects to include those projects in its biennium budget, which relies on existing revenues.

Meanwhile, the 10-year plan provides $241 million for capital funding for ferries for terminal and vessel projects, as well as the purchase of another foot ferry and two new auto vessels to continue replacing the old steel electrics.

The House plan is committed to continuing passenger-only ferry service, although Senate transportation leaders do not support that goal.

The long-term plan also includes several Kitsap highway projects such as spending $91 million to add lanes to State Route 16 on the western approach to the Narrows Bridge, as well as from the bridge to Tacoma.

Another $19 million would be allocated to install a ramp at the State Route 3 and Waaga Way interchange.

The plan also calls for spending $11 million to add more lanes on State Route 304 from State Route 3 to the Bremerton Ferry Terminal.

They rode on 28 morning and afternoon runs to pass out surveys and receive comments on two new rough draft schedules for the Bremerton-Seattle auto ferry routes which will take effect early this summer.

The new car ferry schedule attempts to compensate for the passenger-only runs that will be lost.

Nearly two months remain until the June 15 deadline when the boats stop running.

“I am not happy about it,” said Bremerton resident and passenger Bill Hoke. He is not looking forward to the extra 20 minutes he’ll spend on each trip riding the slow moving car ferries.

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