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Lawmakers want Gov. Inslee to fire top state ferry executives

Lawmakers are calling for the heads of the top executives at Washington State Ferries. Pictured here is interim Ferries director George Capacci during the dedication of ferry Tokitae. (Photo: Washington State Department of Transportation)

Citing problems with the roll-out of the newest ferry boat, two key state lawmakers are calling for the heads of the top executives at Washington State Ferries.

In a statement Friday, Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor and Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton said lawmakers were misled about problems with the design of the newest ferry, the Tokitae.

“One problem is that they apparently have mis-designed the ramps. When you drive aboard the ferry, you either drive straight in or you drive up the ramp. Apparently, some cars will bottom out on that ramp,” said Sequist. He claimed that during a visit to the shipyard in February, the legislators were told that there was no problem. Now, he claims acting Ferries director George Capacci told him the ramp problem can’t be fixed.

“They will have to use the deckhands to chose which cars go up that ramp,” said Seaquist. He says he was told by Capacci that a change order will be entered for the next two boats in the series.

The state has not replaced Ferries Director David Moseley, who retired in April.

“I think the governor should step in and remove the entire leadership of the ferry system now,” said Seaquist.

Seaquist added he wants a detailed forensic audit of the contracts for the three, 64-car Kwa-di Tabil class boats. He’s calling on Governor Inslee to bring in an expert review panel to develop a comprehensive plan for reform of the ferry system.

A spokeswoman said Friday afternoon that the ferry system is preparing a response to the lawmaker’s comments.

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