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Archive for May, 2018

 

KPFF  Drops 28  Car Ferry Size,  LIFAC Dumps All Electric Ferry,  

PW: 2026 Completion Deadline is Not Viable

At the May 9th LIFAC meeting,  KPFF dropped their plans for a 28- car ferry to a  20- car ferry size (as the mid-size of the three options) citing the marginal differences in ridership capacity and costs between a 28- car and 34-car ferry. The ferry size options are now at 16, 20, and 34 car boats.

LIFAC voted unanimously on Patricia Dunn’s  motion to remove the all electric propulsion system option from further consideration. LIFAC Chairperson Nancy Ging cited high  capital improvement costs, expensive battery replacements, and power charging issues as the reasons for dropping the all electric option.

Roland Middleton, Special Programs Manager for Whatcom County Public Works advised the audience that the Gooseberry Dock relocation  was a big funding item for the County which would be helped by phased projects that spreads the cost impact to the County beyond the County Council’s adopted completion deadline of 2026.

KPFF’s  representative Mike Anderson also recommended  phased in  short-term and long-term projects by prioritizing work that needs to be done first.   “Based on useful life and funding constraints,”  KPFF’s first phase short-term project (2020 to 2028)  would give priority for the construction of a new boat, repairs to the  Gooseberry trestle , and Lummi Island dock modifications for the replacement boat.  The second phase long-term project (2020 to 2040)  would be comprised of the Gooseberry terminal relocation, upland expansion, and Lummi Island dock improvements.

Chairperson Nancy Ging stated that LIFAC’s  scheduled July 24th  deadline for County Council’s  approval  of the ferry system alternatives  is necessary in order to  meet the next four-year funding cycle deadline for CRAB (a regional government transportation agency) which grants up to 10 million dollars for projects in yearly increments of $500,000  for twenty years.

 

No date was given at the LIFAC meeting for the production and delivery of KPFF’s final three critical reports to LIFAC members. The final KPFF reports are: Task 6 Funding/Finance, Task 7 Service Alternatives (an evaluation and summary of all the reports), and KPFF’s  Draft and Final recommendations.  Mike Anderson stated that the information in the upcoming consultant’s reports regarding  finance, funding, and service alternatives would be ready for KPFF’s final public hearing on May 22nd at 6:30 pm at the Beach School.

In a PLIC letter to LIFAC dated May 8th, the PLIC Board stated:  “The delay in distributing KPFF’s remaining reports to LIFAC Board members raises questions about LIFAC having sufficient time for board review, public distribution of KPFF’s remaining reports, and then affording enough time for community review and input.”

PLIC has recommended to LIFAC that the County should immediately release KPFF’s final reports to PLIC and the public upon their receipt.  These reports should be viewed as essential to everyone’s understanding of the financial costs and funding for the ferry system alternative options.  PLIC will publish a fifth white paper based on what is currently  known regarding KPFF’s  project costs and funding information as outlined in KPFF’s  Lummi Island LOS Analysis Update dated 5/9/18.

Mr. Middleton  further stated that a Ferry District Tax and surcharge would be necessary regardless of boat size in order to qualify for funding opportunities.   Mr. Andersen argued that a surcharge should not be considered a fare increase but rather a recapitalization for “our grandchildren’s boat” separate from the replacement boat which will be funded differently.   Mr. Anderson suggested a peak season surcharge to LIFAC which would target summer tourists and exclude punch card users.  Patricia Dunn requested that Pubic Works prepare a spreadsheet showing the project’s overall costs to both the  County and Lummi Islanders over an extended period of time.

Chairperson Ging distributed an outline for LIFAC’s electronic questionnaire to LIFAC members for their approval which now moves forward for public release on May 23rd  without timely access to KPFF’s  final pending reports.  Patricia Dunn reported that approximately 564  off- island property owners will receive reminder questionnaire postcards.  PLIC will reimburse LIFAC for all mailing costs.

PLIC will host a TOWN HALL MEETING on a May 29th at 6:30 pm at the Beach School  to discuss your questions and comments on KPFF’s May 22nd  public hearing and LIFAC’s May 23rd  online questionnaire which must be submitted by the June 10th deadline.

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD

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