Legislative committee plans ferry funding


February 2, 2023

Rick Nelson

Wahkiakum County Commissioners talked Friday with state legislators about increasing state funding for the ferry Oscar B.

Wahkiakum County commissioners met with Representative Jake Fey of the State House Transportation Committee for a few minutes on Friday afternoon via Zoom to talk about ferry funding.

Beth Redfield from the Office of Program Research went over a bill draft which proposes to increase the state share of the operating and maintenance deficit of the Wahkiakum County ferry from 80 to 85 percent, and would delete all the references to an appropriation as a limit.

"It would simply be you get reimbursed for 85 percent of your operating budget," she said. "By enacting it in legislation there would be funding of it in every budget cycle but it will be automatic, because it would be in the actual ongoing law."

"That sort of keeps up at least the bulk of costs as they increase over time," Fey said.

Commissioners were pleased.

"We're all in favor of it," Wahkiakum County Commissioner Lee Tischer said. "We appreciate your work on this. This will really help alleviate a burden to our public works fund."

Fey said they would let the commissioners know when the bill gets introduced, adding that it would go before the Transportation committee, where a public hearing will be scheduled and the commissioners can testify.

"Fingers crossed," Fey said.


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