With a budget shortfall of $1.1 million for constructing the new ferry, Commissioners Blair Brady, Mike Backman and Public Works Director Pete Ringen met with Kathleen Davis, director of Highways and Local Programs for Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and manager of federal funds at the State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) to discuss an interest free loan to be paid back over an eight year period.
Commissioner Dan Cothren was unable to attend.
According to Davis, the SIB has 2.2 million in its budget. She is eager to move forward.
“I’d like to put the money to good use,” Davis said. “We could make it happen fairly quick, once you decided what to do.”
Brady agreed, “Putting it to work is the best use of it.”
“We’re going to leave no stone unturned,” Ringen said. “If this can work for us, it gives us the coverage we need to get going. We will continue to pursue every other avenue for payback, whether it’s the County Road Administration Board (CRAB) or legislature.”
Backman introduced the interstate nature of the ferry.“We would like to see Oregon pay for part of this ferry,” he said. “We’re talking about taking out a loan without asking them to cough up.“
Davis suggested going straight to Oregon’s governor instead of trying to work with ODOT on the issue.
“I wonder if you shouldn’t look at some type of agreement that would talk about more 50-50 partnership. It is an interstate, why is the burden on this county?”
Davis seemed amenable to the current proposal.
“This is all I need,” she said, “I just need you to tell me what is acceptable terms on your end and I can write it in such a way that works for you.”
“Did you come in riding on a white horse?” Ringen asked.
Backman and Brady made a motion to ask Davis to begin preparing the paperwork for the loan agreement in the amount of $1.1 million.