Thursday, January 03, 2008

Vallejo Attempts To Protect Itself In Ferry Takeover

Vallejo Attempts To Protect Itself In Ferry Takeover
Times-Herald staff report

PASSENGERS approach the gate at the Vallejo Ferry Terminal to take a ride on the ferry Mare Island, left, to San Francisco. (Mike Jory/Times-Herald file photo)

With a controversial law in effect calling for the state to control Bay Area ferry systems, Vallejo is taking advantage of the Legislature's holiday break to work on clean-up legislation designed to protect its ferries and related properties, public works director Gary Leach said.

Leach said he expects the city and its team of consultants working to protect the Vallejo ferry system to try to have the legislation introduced after lawmakers get back from their break Monday.

Exact wording of the clean-up legislation is still being worked out, but will focus on protecting the Vallejo ferry system and upcoming Vallejo Station parking garage and transportation center, and also assuring the city is well-compensated for its infrastructure, Leach said.

Meanwhile, officials are still awaiting word on former Mayor Tony Intintoli's possible appointment to a new water transit board which will oversee the state-controlled ferry fleet.

The bill, SB 976 went into effect Jan. 1, abolishing an 11-member Water Transportation Authority on which Intintoli had a seat since its inception. Until appointments are made to the new Water Emergency Transportation Authority, Intintoli said no board will be overseeing the ferry systems.

"It behooves everyone for those appointments to be made as soon as possible," Intintoli said.

Members to the new water transit board will be appointed by Jan. 10.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will appoint three members, and one member each will be appointed by the Senate Rules Committee and Assembly speaker.

Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine and Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson have recently sent in letters recommending lawmakers appoint Intintoli.

Similar recommendations were also made by Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, and state Sen. Patricia Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa.

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