Lawmakers call for ‘major overhaul’ of ferry management to restore public trust

Reps. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, and Norma Smith, R-Clinton, both from heavily ferry-dependent legislative districts, released the following statement today in response to:

  1. Misinformation from Washington State Ferries (WSF) to the Legislature when a potential problem was brought to its attention by Reps. Smith and Seaquist in February 2014 regarding ramps to the upper car decks and the possible need for modifications on the new Olympic class of vessels. The continuing labor management issues within WSF, including overtime increases, manning shortages and training and dispatch issues which have resulted in missed sailings, delays and crew morale challenges.

“WSF must be held accountable. To ensure improvements in the department, we are strongly advising a major overhaul of upper management in the ferries division in order to restore public trust. We are also asking the governor to appoint an expert review panel to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation of WSF operations and labor management and present recommendations to the new ferry director for implementation.

“Our marine highways are lifelines for the people and commerce of Washington’s island communities and essential for our economic viability. All Washingtonians have a stake in WSF and should be proud of its safety record moving millions of people every year across our waterways. However, it is right that Washingtonians also demand accountability, transparency and the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars. Obfuscation is not an option.”


Washington State House Republican Communications