Governor Christine Gregoire wants to eliminate the Anacortes-to-Sidney, BC ferry as part of her budget cuts. Dropping the route would save $9.2 million and eliminate 35 jobs.
Governor Christine Gregoire wants to eliminate the Anacortes-to-Sidney, BC ferry as part of her budget cuts. Dropping the route would save $9.2 million.
The ferry, which runs from early spring through early January each year, carried just 113,000 passengers last year. That’s the lowest number of any ferry run in the Washington State Ferries system.
But, the Sidney ferry is considered important to Anacortes. Mayor Dean Mazwell said "We depend on tourism and this run puts money into the local and regional economy." The Chamber of Commerce annually commits significant funds to marketing the run. In fact, they’ve budgeted $100,000 in the coming year to marketing the run.
The head of the ferry system, David Moseley, said dropping the Sidney run “seemed to be the best way to achieve the cost savings we needed with the least impact on overall customers,” adding that because of the length of the route, it uses a lot of fuel.
Under the Governor’s proposed budget, the Sidney runs would end by the end of September, 2009.
Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, a long-time supporter of the ferry system, said “We’re going to do everything we can to keep things running.”
The governor's budget will go to the state Legislature for consideration. Both the state House and Senate will present their own proposals during the legislative session that starts next month. Then all three sides have to reach agreement.