Moseley steps down as WSF head

Outgoing WSF head David Moseley at christening of first Olympic class ferry at Vigor Industrial's Seattle shipyard Outgoing WSF head David Moseley at christening of first Olympic class ferry at Vigor Industrial's Seattle shipyard

MARCH 21, 2014 — David Moseley is stepping down as Washington State Ferries chief.

"Recognizing that the ferry system is in a stronger position than when I came six years ago, I have decided to leave as head of the Washington State Ferries," he said in a statement issued March 18. "My last day will be April 15. I think it's a good time to hand the future to the next director."

In his statement, Mr. Mosely said that when he came to the job six years ago Washington State Ferries was an agency in crisis. The "correct and courageous" decision had just been made to stop operating the 82-year-old Steel Electric class vessels because they weren't safe. A few years previously WSF had lost its main funding subsidy, the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax and its fleet had become the oldest of any major ferry system in the world.

"The average age of BC Ferries' vessels are 21-years-old, Norway's 28 and ours, in 2008 when I came, was 38-years-old," he said.

"When I came I said that we need to focus on four major priorities. First, we had to build new ferry boats. Second, we had to preserve and maintain our ferries better to ensure the safety of our passengers and the reliability of our service. Third, we needed to improve our relationships with ferry communities and customers through more frequent and more personal communication. Finally, we needed a sustainable, dedicated funding source for the capital and operating needs of the system.

Mr. Moseley said he believed real, tangible progress had been made on all of those priorities, with three new 64-car class ferries in service and three new Olympic class ferries funded and under construction. He noted that WSF is preserving and maintaining its vessels better and operating with 99.4 percent service reliability. Communications with customers is better, he said, and "after 12 years of ridership decline, the ferry system added customers in 2013."

On the issue of financial sustainability, he said: "The good news is that the 2014 legislature passed a bill providing a dedicated revenue source for WSF's vessel construction program. While this will not provide full financial sustainability it is a very important step toward a stronger financial foundation. WSF still does not have a dedicated revenue subsidy for operations and terminals capital costs. Until there is a dedicated source in place for those costs, WSDOT will likely need to continue to transfer funds from other depleted transportation accounts to maintain our current level of service. While we made real and significant progress in the 2014 session, financial sustainability has been and remains WSF biggest challenge.\

"Now I look forward to the next challenge. I don't know what that will be. I've had a few interesting conversations but really have no concrete plan yet. Instead, I intend on taking a few months to explore new possibilities"

Commenting on Mr. Moseley's decision, Washington State Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson said, "David can be proud of his distinguished service at WSF and the many accomplishments he has made while at the helm of the ferry system. I thank him for his contributions and leadership in a position that has tremendous challenges and issues."

She said that the Washington State Department of Transportation will begin a national search for a candidate to succeed Mr. Moseley.