The truth about ferries

  • Neal Pattison
  • Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:41pm
  • Local News

It’s not likely that the state’s four Steel-Electric class ferries suddenly or unexpectedly deteriorated after Oct. 30.

That’s the date when the ferry system informed a legislative committee that the vessels were generally in “good condition.”

But last night, the Washington State Ferries inflicted chaos on today’s commute between Whidbey Island and Port Townsend – not to mention the glut of holiday travelers expected along that route. The state declared the boats are unsafe and scrambled to take them out of service immediately.

What happened over the past 20 days?

There may be several answers (or, several versions of the official answer).

One thing we can say for sure: It was three days ago that Herald reporters Scott North and Lukas Velush wrote an article that documented how the Oct. 30 report to the Legislature omitted disturbing information about weak and damaged hulls on the aging Steel-Electric boats.

Suddenly, the state secretary of Transportation had to announce publicly the facts that the ferry system was keeping under wraps: Washington motorists were being transported on unsafe boats.

Transportation is a big regional issue. The troubles we encounter getting from one place to another – from our homes to our jobs, for instance – detract from the quality of our lives.

That’s why Herald reporters enegetically cover highway safety, road improvements, traffic congestion and the ferry system. And it is why Lukas Velush writes his Street Smarts blog and a column in the Monday newspaper.

Keeping checking The Herald and for the latest about the ferry system disruption – and other transportation problems that gum up Snohomish and Island counties.

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