According to a press release from Skagit County Public Works, the Skagit County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the Guemes Island Ferry surcharge, which will take effect on August 1, 2018.
During a presentation on June 12, 2018, the Skagit County Public Works Ferry Division presented three different surcharge options to the Board of Commissioners. The options incorporated feedback that was received from the public after the surcharge was introduced in March 2018. Commissioner Chairman, Ken Dahlstedt, had this to say of the surcharge:
I don’t think there’s any perfect answer, but I think we’re trying to find an answer we can all live with. The longer we wait to build, the more expensive it’ll get. Assessing a surcharge now allows us to put money in the bank so we can build a vessel that will reliably serve Guemes residents for years.
The surcharge selected by the Board of Commissioners is expected to raise approximately $235,000 annually, which represents an average per-ticket price increase of roughly 20 percent. Surcharge funds will be deposited in a separate account, and can only be used for purchase or construction of a new vessel, or for debt service resulting from construction of a new vessel. Commissioner Ron Wesen had this to say of the project:
What we’re doing today is no different than what the state ferry system did back in 2011 – adding a surcharge. Everything has a useful lifespan, and we need to plan for replacement.
In addition to the surcharge, the Commissioners also voted to approve two additional fare changes: Extending the expiration of vehicle punch cards from 90 to 120 days, and eliminating the fee for bicycles.
Click here to find more information about the Guemes Ferry Replacement Project.