Ross Hunter Wants to Buy Everyone Bayliners on the County's Dime

Remember when Laura Onstot proposed buying every West Seattleite a jet ski to deal with the impending viaduct redo? You thought that was pretty funny, right? County Exec candidate Ross Hunter doesn't; he just ratcheted up his attack on the would-be Mosquito Fleet by releasing a document which argues -- seriously -- that it would be more cost-effective to buy each Vashon and West Seattle foot ferry passenger a Bayliner than continue to fund the fledgling King County Ferry District, which includes the Downtown-West Seattle Water Taxi.

This begs the question: Has Hunter ever been to West Seattle? Not Alki Beach, but the rest of the peninsula, where 80,000 people live? Does he realize how fucked West Seattleites are going to be once viaduct-replacement work begins? Actually, he probably does; this all smacks of a very calculated attack on Democratic frontrunner -- and West Seattle resident -- Dow Constantine, for whom the vessels are a virtual floating advertisement.

Says Sandeep Kaushik, spokesperson for Constantine's County Exec campaign: "I'd point out that before they decided to run for King County Executive, Ross and Fred [Jarrett] both voted three times to authorize the creation of County ferry districts. They did so as part of the state's continuing efforts to slough off state responsibilities onto King County. They obviously thought it was a good idea then, and are just trying to play politics with the issue now."

"Senator Patty Murray also understands the value of the water taxi," adds Kaushik. "Just yesterday she got $2 million in federal funds for the water taxi, which has seen ridership rise 30 percent a year and just set a new record for ridership last month."

Shifting back to Hunter, Kaushik closes with this roundhouse right (which Hunter sort of walked into through his Bayliner evocation): "Ross is using voodoo math to come up with these numbers -- mixing up both capital costs and operating costs. Is this the same level of sloppiness and voodoo math he brought to the Oly budgeting process? That might explain a lot. By Ross' method of calculation, it would probably be cheaper get rid of Metro bus service and buy everyone a Bentley. The truth is that the water taxi recovers about twice as much in operating expenses from the fare box as Metro does from buses."

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