The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

County offers Puget Island ferry to Washington state

 


Wahkiakum County commissioners have asked the Washington State Ferries system to take over operation of the Puget Island-Westport ferry.

An undated letter approved at the board's July 18 meeting states the county "is in a financial crisis and can no longer afford to operate the ferry."

The letter, signed by board Chair Blair Brady, acknowledges that the state has subsidized ferry operations since 1982, but since then, revenues have declined, and operating costs have increased.

Further, county revenue growth is restricted by a 1 percent cap on property tax increases, and the county has seen a decline in revenue from trust timber land because of endangered species act restrictions.

"We struggle to provide basic services to our communities while the costs of operating the ferry continue to escalate," the letter said.

The letter did point out the services the ferry provides--it connects highways in two states; it provides a bypass when SR 4 is blocked; it is the only river crossing between Longview and Astoria, and the ferry itself is just a few years old and "has a projected life span of more than 50 years."

"Should we be forced to discontinue this services, it would be a great loss to the state," the letter said.

 

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