Ross Hunter Wants to Sink the Water Taxi

Last week, we jumped all over Fred Jarrett for saying that he'd put a stop to the King County Ferry District's plans for expanding into a full-on mosquito fleet. Not to be outdone, Jarrett's county exec rival and fellow Eastside state legislator, Ross Hunter, just told us that not only would he put the kibosh on the mosquito fleet (with the exception of the county's Vashon line, which he agrees cannot be replicated by a bus), he'd get rid of the Downtown-West Seattle Water Taxi altogether to cut costs as part of his strategic vision for the county.

"I think that adding the West Seattle foot ferry (i.e., water taxi) is a very expensive way to make one of the most expensive transit agencies in the country more expensive," explains Hunter. "I'm trying to get the county to stick to its knitting and provide a great bus system."

He adds that while he thinks the water taxi is "nice," he'd cut it outright (the water taxi is currently set to expand to year-round service in 2010). As for the prospect of a mosquito fleet, he adds, "Expanding it to Lake Washington would be even worse. I'd move that money into transit service; it moves more people for the same amount of money."

True, but Hunter has kids. And kids, when they're toddlers, require a lot more nurturing and financial propping-up than grown men and women. Metro buses are all grown up, but even with the occasional dedicated lane, they still get stuck in King County's dreaded gridlock. Theyr'e a better idea than single-occupancy cars and are worth of investment, no doubt, but they're still at the mercy of the road -- and the road is a tired solution, if it's even a solution at all anymore.

Meanwhile, the Water Taxi is a toddler. It -- meaning its ridership -- gets bigger every year. And next year, it will, with its shift to a year-round schedule, walk for the first time. Even the most ardently pro-choice public official wouldn't kill a kid at that stage of development.

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