Water Taxi Pork
The headline “Water Taxi vessels will be replaced by 2014” [August 17 West Seattle Herald] drives home the message that Pork is not Pork if it benefits me.
County Executive Constantine gushes about the “cost-effective service” and “We are so grateful to Senator Patty Murray and Representative Rick Larson for securing federal funds to help build these vessels” prompting one to wonder if all the talk about the debt and deficit is window dressing for a presidential debate.
Let’s look at the “cost-effective service”: The King County Ferry District 2012 Annual Operating and Capital Budget shows an anticipated fare income of $1,102,543 out of a total income of $17,391,574. The difference between fare and total income is made up of Property Tax, State Forest Timber Sales, Interest income, Federal Grants and State Grants, with most of the monies ($14,418,411) coming from Federal Grants.
Total expenditures for the year, including $10,949,524 for Vessel Construction are $24,962,460. The bottom line: only 4.4% of the costs of our little Navy are paid for by the few who use it.
At the same time, the county via another governing entity is eliminating daytime bus service on Beach Drive. While I admit there are not a lot of riders during the day on Beach Drive, I am led to wonder why the Water Taxi shuttle (Route 773) cannot make the return trip to the ferry dock via Beach Drive. The drive would add only a couple of miles to the route and offer the opportunity to use the ferry system to more potential customers. Those free shuttles spend a lot of time and miles empty, a waste of money.