Opinion

Our Washington State ‘Fairy’ System

Fairy is correct. I spelled it that way on purpose. For the last decade the Washington State Ferry System has been presenting what has now been revealed as nothing more than a deliberately manufactured fantasy of an actual transportation service.

A pretty picture that taxpayers easily bought into but could not rely on when holes were exposed and reality intruded.

The reality that riders and taxpayers have expected actual leadership to exist at the highest levels to ensure that agency policy contains checks and balances between managers and employees that protect taxpayers from theft and cover-ups.

The reality that proved the failures of the much touted green practices and the carbon footprint reducing use of mass transit to and from large regional events could be anticipated and accommodated.

The reality that local ferry routes are in fact a marine highway used to move transportation and commuters in a safe, reliable and dependable manner.

The reality that all of the stakeholders who represent Bremerton and sit on the Washington State Ferry Advisory Committee are in fact actual daily commuters that rely heavily on this system for their livelihoods and professional obligations and are fully impacted by all of its problems.

Well, the fantasy is over.

The fact that it is an aging fleet with issues that have not had much more than Band-Aids applied is glaring. The typical ferry workers are showing visible signs of apathy and demoralization by the years of legislation, union and management games being played with them and their work environment.

Commuters suffer and communities suffer from these mistakes, breakdowns and failures. The increasing outcry from the vast remainder of the state that they are contributing a significant portion of their transportation dollars to something that many of them never see or use use while their own regional roads languish becomes an ever increasing bitter pill to swallow.

The ferry system is pushing for more money from taxpayers to fix what is wrong. Taxpayers are looking to the ferry systems to fix what is wrong before they are willing to invest more of their taxpayer dollars.

The first step towards a solution is finding an effective leader and director. Hire someone with the skill and ability to restore community and taxpayer confidence in a system that desperately needs it at every level. There has to be a captain of this ship before significant course corrections are made.

Legislators, please start listening and implementing the suggestions for changes and corrections that have been called for over the years by Representative Larry Seaquist and others.

Colleen Smidt writes weekly about things that are happening in the Bremerton community. She is a Bremerton resident who actively takes part in community activities.

 

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