Smith, Puget Sound legislators request new audit on state ferry system

A group of bipartisan lawmakers representing Puget Sound’s ferry communities including 10th District Rep. Norma Smith, delivered a letter to State Auditor Troy Kelley on January 21 requesting an audit of Washington State Ferries (WSF) related the three newest 64-car ferries. Specifically, the legislators want the auditor to determine the true post-delivery cost of design and construction decisions on the Kwa-di Tabil class vessels.

“This request is based on concerns I brought to the attention of the Washington State Department of Transportation and Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond last August,” said Smith, R-Clinton. “We want to ensure that the design decisions being made reflect best design practices at the time of construction. Issues have been identified that may significantly impact the life-cycle of the ferries, driving higher-than-expected costs for operations, modifications, maintenance and fuel use. If our ferry customers are asked to bear the majority of our ferry system’s operations cost, it is essential that we get clear answers.”

Smith did receive a response from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Washington State Ferries (WSF) on August 17, 2012, but Smith says the response was incomplete.   “We need a full audit that takes into consideration higher than expected post-delivery costs and problems requiring mitigation,” Smith said. “The signatures on the request letter not only show strong, bipartisan support for our ferry system, but that legislators in the Puget Sound want complete and transparent answers to the concerns brought to the attention of Washington State Ferries.”

Smith’s letter in August outlined seven concerns including: the hull list that impacts loading and operations, fuel consumption and efficiency, vibration issues, and questions about the engines and propulsion systems. The letter was signed by 15 legislators from around Puget Sound. To read the letter click here.


Washington State House Republican Communications