Ferry meeting regarding draft long-range plan tonight

Washington State Ferries will host a meeting on Vashon this evening about its draft long-range plan. The meeting is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at the Vashon High School.

The format will be an open house — with materials around the room and WSF personnel to talk with. The materials will focus on the draft long-range plan, which the public is invited to comment on until Oct. 25.

WSF spokesperson Hadley Rodero said the long-range plan is what personnel would like to hear about since they are in the midst of a 45-day comment period for it. However, she said that they recognize there is also a lot of interest in the sailing schedule, and Justin Resnick, the service planning manager who drafted the recent potential schedule changes, will be at the meeting to clarify the process for developing the new schedule and to answer questions.

WSF will also hold a meeting on Vashon regarding schedule changes; it has not been scheduled yet, but will like be the third or fourth week of October.

Below is information from WSF on the long-range plan:

More than half of Washington State Ferries’ 22-vessel fleet is scheduled to retire by 2040. Five of these ferries are more than 50 years old and need to be replaced immediately to sustain reliable service. These findings are among the key themes of WSF’s newly released draft Long Range Plan, which will be available for public review and comment starting Sept. 10.

“The ferry system is a critical part of our state’s transportation network and reliability is our customers’ top concern,” said WSF Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton. “This plan makes it clear that we need to invest immediately in building new ferries, improving the customer experience and greening the fleet through 2040 and beyond.”

The draft Long Range Plan builds upon WSF’s 2009 Long Range Plan as directed by the Washington State Legislature. The plan addresses four major themes:

· Reliable service

· Customer experience

· Managing growth

· Sustainability and resilience

The draft reflects extensive input from the public and stakeholders, including nearly 1,400 comments and survey responses submitted during spring 2018 outreach sessions.

How to comment

Through Oct. 25, WSF invites the public to review and comment on the draft Long Range Plan.

People can view materials and submit comments via an online open house, which will run from Sept. 10 to Oct. 25. WSF is also hosting 11 open houses in ferry-served communities featuring display boards that explain the planning process and highlight key plan findings and recommendations. Staff will be available to answer questions, and people will be encouraged to provide written comments or verbal comments to a court reporter.

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