The Anacortes-Sidney, BC, ferry run is facing extended winter shutdowns if a proposed state Transportation Department budget ends up getting adopted.
That would mean 20 weeks without service to Sidney and no separate inter-island service on the weekends. Inter-Island service on Saturdays and Sundays is incorporated into the Anacortes-San Juans sailings during the winter schedule.
Its preliminary budget identifies $594,000 in savings that could be realized from 2015 to 2017 by extending the winter closure on the International ferry to 20 weeks from the current 12.
WS DOT's explanation of the proposed budget cut:
"$3.2 million and 12.4 FTEs in service reductions are proposed which would save labor and fuel costs. These cuts are partially offset by lost revenue of $1.1 million, resulting in net savings of $2.1 million per‐biennium. The criteria on which the proposed reductions were selected include affecting the fewest riders and considering the ratio of savings to lost revenue."
San Juan County Council Chair Rick Hughes wrote a letter opposing the cuts to the governor and state legislators. The letter was signed by officials from the other counties which have ferry service.
Hughes said he’s frustrated that “instead of taking across the board transportation cuts through all of WSDOT,” specific ferry routes are being suggested for cuts.
Other potential cuts include reducing service on the San Juan routes and having no third vessel weekend service for the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route. If adopted, the cuts would take effect in November 2015.
Washington Department of Transportation photo.