Add Kurt Triplett to the list of county exec wannabes seeking to stop the fledgling King County Ferry District at its dock. Only Triplett isn't really a wannabe; he holds the office vacated by HUD honcho Ron Sims on an interim basis -- so his proposal, which would maintain existing foot ferry service to Vashon and West Seattle, actually has some teeth. For those of you keeping score, Susan Hutchison and Fred Jarrett are essentially in lockstep with Triplett's plan, while Ross Hunter and Larry Phillips would, if elected, load a cannon from their office and sink all vessels in the county's control. But for fans of the Water Taxi, a key ray of sunshine is included in Triplett's plan: the vessel will expand to year-round service as planned in 2010.
"Most of the onshore improvements to the passenger terminal, the purchase of the boats, the additional run to Vashon, and the year-round water taxi -- all that can be done" under Triplett's plan, says his spokesperson, Carolyn Duncan. "The reason for that is the increase in use and a lot of federal support. With the viaduct coming down and the tunnel being built, it doesn't make sense to get rid of something that will take hundreds, if not thousands, of cars off the road during that construction."
What's more, Triplett's plan has the support of a somewhat conciliatory Dow Constantine, a West Seattleite and County Exec candidate who chairs the Ferry District as part of his County Council duties. "If you think of ferries as buses on the water, they compare very favorably to buses on land," says Constantine's campaign spokesperson, Sandeep Kaushik. "Dow was certainly willing to look at ferry service on Lake Washington, but that was always going to be dependent on whether or not it's cost effective. The Ferry District is moving very cautiously about that expanded service. But given the dire situation at Metro, it makes sense to move in this direction -- to preserve the ferry service we know is successful and works."