Letters to the Editor

Lobbying makes a difference for the ferries | Letter to the Editor

Vashon Island ferry riders (that would be all of us) recently had the heck scared out of them when the state’s Transportation Commission suggested that the Tahlequah/Point Defiance and Southworth runs might be completely eliminated. It’s hard to imagine what that might have meant for our schools, medical services, property values and ability to get to our jobs every day, but it seems likely that life on Vashon as we currently know it would immediately cease.

Fortunately, many Vashon people took to their laptops and iPhones to send emails and letters of protest to legislators. It seems to have worked. The word, as this letter is being written, is that our current level of service will continue for the short term.

No one can say for sure that the objections raised by people here forestalled the removal of those ferry routes, but I saw many of those letters and can assure you they were persuasive and heartfelt. The kind of personal testimony they rendered really does have an impact on lawmakers, according to Greg Beardsley and Kari Ulatoski, our dedicated ferry activists. We owe a big thank you to Greg and Kari, and to all those who took the time to tell our elected officials the impact such drastic cuts would have on their lives.

It may be that this recent, cataclysmic threat was merely a political ploy, but we need to recognize that until Washington State Ferries is fully funded more threats will regularly come our way. Vashon’s population is small, which makes us an easy target for cuts to our ferry system. But we are also loud. I hope we can proactively help our legislators find reasons to fund WSF into the future — rather than responding to crises as they come up — by collectively telling them how essential our ferries are to life on Vashon.

 

— Todd Pearson

 

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