GIFC Letter to SCPW on Consultant RFQ for 2023 Fare Proposal

November 10, 2022

Ron Wesen, Peter Browning, Lisa Janicki

Skagit County Commissioners

Grace Kane P.E.

Public Works Director | County Engineer

Captain Rachel Rowe

Ferry Operations Division Manager

The following are the Guemes Island Ferry Committee's [GIFC] comments on the County's Request for Qualifications for a rate study for the Guemes Island Ferry.

The proposal calls for various meetings with county personnel but no meeting with the ferry committee. We suggest that a meeting with the ferry committee in week two would be appropriate.

We do not think rescinding the 65% fare recovery methodology is appropriate. This methodology along with the five year averaging has worked well in determining fare increases for many years. Tying fare increases to the cost of operating the ferry makes the most sense. By using some external index this separates fares from ferry costs and does not seem reasonable.

Capping the road fund subsidy would only make sense if you also capped the Guemes Island property tax revenue.

We do not think that the peak/non-peak rate schedules should be eliminated. The higher fares in the summer raise additional revenue and is a way for property owners who do not live on the island full time to pay their share of the fixed costs of operating the ferry.

Reviewing the vessel replacement surcharge is appropriate. In this review they should look at surcharge rates in other area ferry systems. We would also like to point out that neither the current ferry or our new ferry were financed by a surcharge. It seems reasonable that the next replacement ferry in 50 years would also receive substantial outside funding.

Guemes Island Ferry Committee