Carlson Commentary: Expensive Protectionism

The State Auditor just reported that the new ferry boat used on the Coupeville – Port Townsend run cost $36 million dollars more
Than a similar ferry boat  built across the country.  You and I – paid nearly $80 million dollars for a 64-car vessel, while in Massachusetts, a 76- car ferry boat for Nantucket cost $43 million.

That may be an outrage but it’s not an aberration.   It’s a trend.  You’ve been paying between $7 and $42 million more for boats built here than comparable boats built elsewhere for years. 

One reason why is that state law requires ferry boats to be built here in Washington.   The Chetzemoka ferry had one bidder:  Todd Shipyards, which came in millions above expectations.  Todd Shipyards has built the last six ferries and is building two more.  This law benefits exactly one politically connected company and its politically connected union.

Why on earth are we doing this when the state treasury is nearly a billion dollars under water and we’re under a court mandate to find more money for schools?

If Jay Inslee wants to send a clear signal that business as usual at your expense is a thing of the past, let him start  by repealing this law.