In considering long-term options for our transportation to and from the mainland, I find that many issues about our ferry situation raised by Randy Smith on his Transition Lummi Island site seem increasingly relevant. The bottom line? Keeping Gooseberry Point as our mainland docking location may not provide our best long-term solution.
The County and many islanders are focusing exclusively on the Gooseberry Pt solution. I remain modestly supportive of that goal but wonder if it will really provide as affordable access to mainland services in the future as the recent past leads us to hope. For example, if/when gasoline goes to $5 or $10 a gallon, not only ferry costs will increase. The total transit costs for every person (islander, business, service, etc) to reach their ultimate destination also will increase. (After all, not many folks want to go just to Gooseberry Pt.) Ferry costs are just one piece of ‘affordability’. Ultimately what matters is our total transportation cost to mainland facilities, goods, services, jobs, etc. Too narrow a focus on the Gooseberry Pt solution obscures this fact.
Also, I think that holding too tightly to the Gooseberry Pt outcome greatly weakens he County’s negotiating strength. By insisting on only Gooseberry, aren’t islanders basically forcing the County’s negotiators over an impossibly large barrel? Seems likely to me, which is one reason why I, like Randy, am not a member of PLIC. While I respect PLIC and that they are “the only game in town” (at least observable game), I don’t agree enough with their strategy and tactics to be a member.