Attorney general Rob McKenna may have said it's the state legislature's responsibility, under Tim Eyman's Initiative 1053, to set tolls and ferry rates, but he clarified today that that opinion doesn't apply to ferry fare rates the state Transportation Commission set in November, the PI.com reports. That's a relief for the state ferry system: As the Seattle Times reported, the ferry system could lose $6,000 a day without the fare increase.
Bryce Brown, senior assistant attorney general, on Wednesday sent a memo to the the state Department of Transportation and the Transportation Commission, stating that because the ferry fares were approved before I-1053 became effective on Dec. 2, those hikes legally permissible.

The opinion would appear to be a partial victory for Gov. Chris Gregoire, who is counting on increased ferry fares to mitigate cuts to runs. In her proposed two-year budget Gregoire unveiled last week, she would increase ferry fares 10 percent in the 2011 budget year. Even with fare increases, Gregoire said average daily sailings would have to be cut from 505 to 477.

Read our report on the fare increases, and Eyman's overheated reaction to them, here.
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