TVW documentary focuses on issues with the state ferry system

  • By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, September 27, 2011 12:01am
  • Local News

A TVW documentary on the state ferry system is scheduled to air Tuesday night.

“Staying Afloat: Challenges Facing Washington State Ferries,” an hour-long documentary shot this summer, premieres at 7 p.m. on TVW, a statewide public affairs cable network.

Host and producer Jessica Gao

will focus on the difficulties that have arisen for the ferry system in the past decade. These include declining revenue for maintenance and construction, aging boats, rising fares and a drop in ridership.

Continued funding shortages are forecast in the face of a need to replace half the fleet over the next three decades. Gao conducted more than two dozen interviews with ferry riders, state legislators and other officials, supporters and critics, according to TVW.

Washington’s ferry system is the largest in the United States, one of the largest in the world, a major transportation link and tourism draw.

“Washington ferries are one of the most recognizable and unique branches of state government,” TVW president Greg Lane said in a written statement.

TVW also plans Tuesday to launch an accompanying website,, that will include expanded interviews, as well as links to organizations featured in the special report.

This week’s episodes of TVW shows “The Impact” and “Inside Olympia” will focus on ferries and transportation. On “The Impact,” scheduled to air at 7 and 10 p.m. Wednesday, Gao will interview state ferries Director David Moseley and legislators.

“Staying Afloat” is scheduled to run again at 6 and 9 p.m. Wednesday, immediately before the regular weekly episode of “The Impact.” At 7 and 10 p.m. Wednesday, “Inside Olympia” host Austin Jenkins will interview the state’s deputy transportation secretary, David Dye, and legislative transportation leaders Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, and Rep. Mike Armstrong, R-Wenatchee.

For more information on TVW, go to http://

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439;

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