VICTORIA (NEWS1130) – Could BC Ferries save money by teaming up with Washington and Alaska state ferries? It’s an idea that has been floated by the Evergreen State’s newest governor.

During his recent campaign, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee said in a policy brief that a partnership between BC Ferries and Washington State Ferries could somehow look at vessel sharing or other cost reduction measures, given how close the systems are.

BC Transportation Minister Mary Polak held a teleconference this afternoon. She says she’s open to the idea, but ultimately BC Ferries would have to be on board. Polak adds talks in the past never saw the idea set sail.

“There were discussions through the Northwest Economic Region around potential for integrating some travel options between the Alaska, Washington State, and BC Ferries service but it wasn’t successful in the end,” Polak says. “It’s something that I think people are always open to.  Nevertheless, it is an operational decision and BC Ferries would have to address that themselves.”

Her comments come with the release of a report today from two thousand public submissions on how BC Ferries could cut $26-million in costs and run more efficiently.

The public’s two greatest concerns: High fares and maintaining existing service.