Public comment sought on Kitsap Transit use of Kingston dock

Agencies will negotiate use of passenger dock and facility

KINGSTON— One big step in making space for Kitsap Transit’s passenger-only fast ferry service to and from Seattle has been accomplished: The sale of the port’s old SoundRunner ferry.

Next: reaching a financial agreement with Kitsap Transit for use of the port’s passenger dock and facility. Kitsap Transit needs the dock for its new fast ferry, which is scheduled to begin service from Kingston this summer.

The Port Commission will meet at 1 p.m. Jan. 24 at Village Green Community Center, 26159 Dulay Road NE. The meeting is open to the public.

Among the port’s options: leasing the facility to Kitsap Transit, entering into an inter-local agreement between the two public agencies for use of the facility, or transferring — the government term for “selling” — the facility to Kitsap Transit.

“Facility” refers to the section of dock from the covered shelter to the passenger loading barge. The port would retain its DNR lease on the water as well as ownership of the dock running from the land to the passenger shelter.

“We always have to remember that the port’s owners are the taxpayers in our Port District,” Port Executive Director Jim Pivarnik said in an announcement of the meeting. “So, we’ll be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each option and its impact on our Port District taxpayers and inviting public comment. We owe it to our owners to get them a fair return on their investment.

“While it’s true that everyone in Kitsap County is helping pay for the fast ferry, the few here should not be supporting the many everywhere,” he said. He went on to point out that the kind of arrangement arrived at with Kitsap Transit could have implications for other port leases.

“I encourage the community’s comments on this issue to help us find the best way to assure the success of the ferry that’s also fair to the residents of our port district.”