Rantz: Drama! Governor Jay Inslee slams Bob Ferguson’s ‘brain dead’ ferry plan

Apr 23, 2024, 6:11 PM

Image: Governor Jay Inslee calls Bob Ferguson's ferry plan "brain dead" at Earth Day press conferen...

Governor Jay Inslee calls Bob Ferguson's ferry plan "brain dead" at Earth Day press conference with the Environmental Protection Agency. (Image courtesy of TVW)

(Image courtesy of TVW)

Governor Jay Inslee criticized Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s “brain dead” position on fixing the broken Washington ferry system. But did he realize it? It appears so.

For years, the state’s ferry system has been crippled by Democrat policy and Inslee’s mismanagement. The state doesn’t have enough working ferries, leading to inconsistent schedules for Washingtonians who can sometimes wait hours for a ferry to arrive. We should have had this crisis addressed quickly but Democrats initially mandated that new ferries be built in Washington.

But that’s not all.

Environmental extremist Inslee vowed to electrify our future ferry fleet, a plan that is expensive and slow. So slow that Ferguson, a gubernatorial hopeful, said we need to act as quickly as possible to address the crisis, which includes purchasing diesel-powered ferries. Inslee isn’t a fan and he seems willing to provide political drama so we know.

More from Jason Rantz: Bob Ferguson shut off comments to avoid criticism after Dave Reichert attack ad

What did Jay Inslee say about Bob Ferguson’s ferry position?

Inslee was speaking at an Earth Day press conference with the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday. The group announcement was that federal “Solar For All” funds are coming to Washington state.

During his brief remarks, the governor decided to bring up his unrelated plan to electrify the ferry fleet. He presented it almost as a newly announced idea, even though it’s been in the works for years.

“And to anyone with a pad and no pad and a pencil right now, I hope they’ll pay attention to what I’m just going to say,” Inslee said. “There are those who want to abandon this electrification of our ferry fleet and they are wrong. Some of these folks want to just swap back to old diesel technology, the last century technology. We are not going backwards.”

He gave two reasons why he wouldn’t “abandon” the electrified ferries. First, he called diesel a “nasty, old technology.” Second, he claimed it would cause a delay in getting boats operational.

“If we abandon this effort to electrify our ferry fleets, and want to go back to try to build diesel boats, it will delay — repeat — it will delay our ability to get boats on the water by at least a year,” Inslee claimed. “Because we’d have to start the whole process over again. It would be a brain dead thing to delay us getting more ferry boats at the same time we stopped using a new technology that is ready for prime time.”

Inslee knew who he was criticizing

A spokesperson for Inslee said the governor was responding to a Seattle Times editorial. But not only did Inslee wholly mischaracterize the editorial, he also ended up criticizing a plan from Ferguson (which was itself lifted from Republican gubernatorial hopeful Dave Reichert).

Though it should, the editorial doesn’t say to abandon the electric fleet altogether (an EV car can’t make it roundtrip from Seattle to Cle Elum, we probably shouldn’t trust a massive boat to make it from Seattle to Bremerton). It merely argues the state should buy two diesel-fueled ferries to help with the current emergency.

“Gov. Jay Inslee has remained a hard no on anything short of hybrid propulsion for future vessels. The new, delayed class of diesel-plus-battery ferries Inslee and the legislature pursued won’t launch until at least 2028. Meanwhile, ferry riders languish,” the editorial states.

But Inslee wasn’t actually just criticizing the Times. He was criticizing Ferguson, whom he endorsed for governor.

Ferguson and ferries

Even Ferguson supports purchasing the diesel-powered ferries, albeit he was the last nominee to announce his position.

Like most of his positions, they change when polling indicates they should. He was for legalizing drugs, leading to the disastrous and deadly overdoses crisis, before he was against it. After trying to destroy the lives of cops, while supporting de-policing, Ferguson suddenly wants to get tough on crime! Uh-huh. Now that the ferry system is so absolutely broken, he sees potential voters in the people who are stuck dealing with the subpar system.

Inslee obviously knows Ferguson held a position on diesel-powered ferries. Perhaps he has endorser’s remorse? Or this is his way of putting pressure on Ferguson, who he likely thinks will win. It could be a very dramatic way to tell Ferguson not to alter what Inslee assumes will be his eco-legacy as governor.

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Rantz: Drama! Governor Jay Inslee slams Bob Ferguson’s ‘brain dead’ ferry plan