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June 18, 2018

Guemes Ferry surcharge will take effect August 1

A surcharge on Guemes Island Ferry fares will take effect starting Aug. 1, 2018. The Skagit County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the surcharge on Monday, June 18.

Skagit County Public Works Ferry Division presented three different surcharge options to the Board of Commissioners during a presentation June 12. The options incorporated feedback received from the public after the surcharge was introduced in March 2018.

“I don’t think there’s any perfect answer, but I think we’re trying to find an answer we can all live with,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Ken Dahlstedt. “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.

“This is, I think, long overdue,” said Commissioner Lisa Janicki. “I feel good about where we’re headed with this.”

“What we’re doing today is no different than what the state ferry system did back in 2011 – adding a surcharge,” added Commissioner Ron Wesen. “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.

Find more information about the Guemes Ferry Replacement Project online at skagitcounty.net/ferryreplacement. For questions or more details, please contact Rachel Rowe at rrowe@co.skagit.wa.us or 360-416-1466.