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Ferry cuts appear sidestepped for now

Ferry-service advocates are breathing a sigh of relief after committees in both the House and Senate passed budgets last week that contain enough fees to keep the state ferry service at its current levels.

The supplemental transportation budget still needs approval by both chambers. And because the versions are different, “negotiations are under way,” said Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-Maury Island). But Nelson said it appears as though a compromise is within reach. “I’m very optimistic,” she said.

State officials had warned that five routes — including Vashon’s Tahlequah and Southworth ones — were at risk of being eliminated.

Island residents rallied, said Vashon ferry advocate Greg Beardsley, writing letters and sending emails. Unfortunately, he added, the proposed fix is a short-term one.

“We’ve got to continue the battle,” he said.

 

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