Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGLO 1980 NO. 3 >

(1) Employees of the Washington State Ferry System are subject to the jurisdiction of the State Employees Insurance Board under chapter 41.05 RCW with respect to the design of such employer-funded insurance coverage as they receive from the state. (2) The employer's contribution of the Washington Department of Transportation under RCW 41.05.050(2) is not, in the case of ferry system employees, limited to that which the State Employees Insurance Board sets as the employer's contribution for state agencies generally.

AGO 2014 NO. 4 >


RCW 43.135.055(1), as most recently amended by Initiative 1185 and previously by Initiatives 960 and 1053, does not amend or repeal approval the legislature has granted in other statutes for the imposition or increase of fees, and makes no distinction as to when legislative approval must take place.


AGO 1990 NO. 16 >

1.   RCW 47.60.120 prohibits a commercial ferry crossing within ten miles of a state ferry crossing.  The prohibition in RCW 47.60.120 applies to passenger-only ferries.   2.   The ten-mile distance in RCW 47.60.120 is ten statute miles measured by airline distance.  3.   The ten-mile rule in RCW 47.60.120 is applied by comparing the state ferry crossing to the commercial ferry crossing.  A crossing consists of the two end points or termini of the run.  If the two end points or termini of the commercial ferry crossing are within ten miles of the two end points or termini of the state ferry crossing, the commercial ferry crossing is prohibited.

AGLO 1980 NO. 28 >

The Washington Transportation Commission did not violate any contractual rights of persons who previously purchased undated ferry system commuter ticket books when, by Resolution No. 72, it provided that commutation ticket books shall be valid only for ninety days from the date of purchase.

AGLO 1973 NO. 85 >

Except to the extent that it is authorized under RCW 36.54.010, et seq., to own and operate a ferry system, a 7th class county is not authorized to engage in the transportation business for hire.

AGO 1964 NO. 100 >

(1) The vacation of a ferry service by a board of county commissioners constitutes, and is subject to the same provisions governing, the vacation of a county road or bridge; however, if existing ferry service has been discontinued because the system has been destroyed or partially destroyed, the decision of the board of county commissioners, exercising its discretion, not to repair, reconstruct or re‑establish [[reestablish]] ferry service is not under existing law subject to any procedural requirements. (2) There is no obligation on the part of the highway department or county road departments to plow out or remove snow deposited on entrances to private driveways or roads, within the public highway rights of way, during the plowing of county roads or state highways, provided that access rights have not been taken thereby.

AGO 1957 NO. 102 >

Legislation making a direct appropriation of moneys from the motor vehicle fund as a subsidy in aid of the operation of an integrated Puget Sound transportation system, including bridges and ferries; or providing for an annual pledge of fuel excise taxes from the motor vehicle fund as a guaranty of toll facility revenue bonds would not be invalid as contravening the provisions of Art. II, § 40, Art. VIII, §§ 1 and 5 and Art. XII, § 9.

AGO 1951 NO. 106 >

Crimes committed aboard Washington ferries are subject to normal criminal arrest by police officers within their respective geographical jurisdiction.

AGO 1960 NO. 142 >

A certificate of public convenience and necessity may legally be granted to furnish passenger service by vessel only if such service is either not over any waters within ten miles of an existing Washington state ferry crossing or does not constitute ferry service.

AGO 1954 NO. 373 >

County commissioners no longer have authority to grant licenses or franchises to privately-operated ferries, since RCW 36.53.010 has been repealed by implication.  This matter is now covered by RCW 81.84.010.