This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald is resigning, leaving some unifinished business, notably the new 520 bridge and Alaskan Way Viaduct.
I found this quote ver revealing:
Duke Schaub, governmental affairs director for the Associated General Contractors, said MacDonald’s successor also will need to deal with a host of issues in state ferries, which are wrestling with financial problems.
“If there’s one area that I feel is toughest for the DOT administrator to deal with, it’s the ferry system,” he said.
Now, I don’t know who Duke Schaub is and maybe he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but assuming he’s right, it suggests a fundamental myopia at WSDOT. The ferry system is essentially a very large mass transit system, and the fact that the road-centric WSDOT sees it almost as an annoyance is troubling. Puget Sound’s copious waterways could be an asset to our transportation planners, not simply a liability.
To be sure, WSDOT does work on a host of valuable rail projects, as we’ve noted before. But those are dwarfed by the roads.
It would be nice if the next WSDOT director took a holistic approach to transportation planning — integrating roads, ferries, and rail — with a focus on moving people and freight, not cars and trucks.