Editor’s note. In this guest post, Beth Louis shares her comments to LIFAC about the Ferry Replacement Subcommittee’s January 3rd draft report and recommendations re: acquiring the Hiyu (links are at end). Beth’s long-time profession was in public transportation management. She was a part-time resident of Lummi Island for years and moved here full time ~1 year ago. Beth is on LIFAC’s long-range planning sub-committee, attends LIFAC meetings regularly and recently joined the PLIC Board. (Her comments are part of the public record, like all written input to LIFAC.)
Beth’s summary comment:
“The Sub-Committee should be commended for the effort and detailed work put into the Report to gather information about ferry replacement options. It serves as a good starting point for discussion about how and when the Whatcom Chief should be replaced. The Report makes clear that there is an opportunity to acquire a used replacement ferry and strongly conveys the benefits for pursuing the Hiyu.
However, without a comprehensive comparison of benefits, dis-benefits and costs and a discussion of trade-offs between acquiring a used boat with a similar life span to the Chief vs. keeping the Chief and beginning the process for funding and acquiring a new boat, it is not possible to make an informed decision about which ferry replacement option is the most financially and operationally suited to County budgets and ferry users needs.
The information collected by the Technical Sub-committee could be passed on to the County for their information and use in evaluating a ferry replacement option, but until additional data is provided, including a true assessment of costs, their impact on fares and a funding plan, it is not appropriate to forward a recommendation that the Hiyu be acquired at this time. I have submitted the attached comments to LIFAC based on the Report entitled “Acquisition of the M/V Hiyu From Washington State Ferries for Use at Lummi Island” released by the Technical Sub-Committee on January 3, 2015.”
Editor’s note 2. I’ve heard there’s an updated version / draft of the subcommittee report, but LIFAC has chosen not to make that available to the public until after their February 3, 2015 meeting at which they will discuss and vote on what to do next. That means that commenters can respond only to what’s in the draft report released on January 3, 2015.