BC Ferries reduces landing fees by $100,000; Sidney ferry run saved in transportation budgets

BC Ferries has agreed to reduce landing fees for the Anacortes-San Juan Islands-Sidney ferry by $100,000 a year for the next three years, a savings of around 25 percent, state lawmakers announced today.

Washington State Ferries currently pays roughly $520,000 a year in fees, or a $1.4 million in the state’s biennial budget, for use of the Sidney ferry landing, according to WSF spokeswoman Marta Coursey.

The reduction, the result of discussions between state Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Anacortes, Anacortes Mayor Dean Maxwell and Sidney Mayor Larry Cross, helped keep the ferry run in the House and Senate transportation budgets. Morris met with Sidney officials earlier in March to negotiate a compromise in current lease rates. The lease rate was a factor in WSF’s decision to propose the elimination of the Sidney run.

“Sidney’s move to reduce our landing cost by $100,000 clearly sends the message this is a partnership and not a one-way relationship,” Morris said in an announcement today.

Gov. Christine Gregoire's budget initially planned for the ferry run's elimination as an expense reduction measure, but the House and Senate both agreed to keep funding for the route in their budgets.

Morris, who is also House speaker pro tem, was among the members representing lawmakers from Olympia who have constructed this year’s Transportation budget. He participated in a rally at the Sidney, B.C., terminal on Sunday, joining about 250 islanders and mainlanders who sailed aboard the MV Chelan from Anacortes and the San Juans.

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