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Letters To The Editor
Support transportation bill that sustains ferry funding

For the first time in the past 10 years there is a transportation bill in the state House that if passed could sustain the ferry system for the next 10 years. Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-Bellevue) has been a bulldog this session and is trying to pass a new revenue package that would support much-needed improvements to a number of transportation areas including the ferry system. Her package of bills, totaling $8.4 billion, would provide $856 million in new revenue for the ferry system.

If this package of bills were to pass, the ferry system would be financially sustainable for at least the next 12 years. These bills have passed out of the House Transportation Committee and, hopefully, will be considered during the upcoming special session.

In my eight years as mayor, we never had a bill that we could point to and say “If you support this bill it will make the ferry system financially sustainable.” It is a package of bills and it has a long way to go, but for the first time in a long time we have a shot. Clibborn has been steadfast at pushing this new revenue package along and must have the support of the Kitsap legislative delegation. I am calling on our legislators to rally around the House transportation bill and help get it passed. We have had little progress in the past 10 years in finding the funding to support the operation of the ferry system, while service has been cut and fares continue to go up each year.

I also urge ferry riders to write their local legislators and ask them to support the transportation bill. Political pressure from voters works; it might be the only thing that works in bringing real change to this system that has suffered for the past 12 years, ever since the motor vehicle tax went away and forced the ferry operation budget to be funded out of user fees.

The economy of Kitsap County depends on having a well run, affordable ferry transportation system. In the next month in the special session, we have a chance at passing a bill that will assure we have such a system for the next decade. This is our shot, let’s not waste it!

Cary Bozeman,
Former mayor of Bremerton

 

 
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