Photo comes from here.
Thursday morning at a meeting of the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council the local cities’ and county’s electeds agreed that stable ferry funding has to be our legislative delegation’s top priority in the 2009 session.
To make sure it happens, the group is planning to study the impact ferries have on the Seattle economy as part of an effort to gather legislative allies for the cause.
“This has got to be a spiritual cause for them,” said Bremerton mayor Cary Bozeman.
“We’ve got to be evangelists,” said Lary Coppola, Port Orchard mayor.
Kitsap County commissioner Steve Bauer suggested a strategy of gathering data about how the ferries matter to the eastside economy, then creating a presentation to make the case, all in an effort to add allies.
Nine legislators represent Kitsap County. Add three more for Vashon, three for Clallam and Jefferson, three for Island County and three for the San Juans. That’s 14 of 98 in the House, seven of 49 in the Senate. Those 21 probably won’t need much convincing.
It will be the legislators on the receiving end of the ferries, from Pierce to Snohomish, that will be key to the strategy. “They don’t have this on the radar from an economic sense,” said Bainbridge Island mayor Darlene Kordonowy.
The KRCC officials referred to a study that showed tourism accounted for a bigger share of ferry traveling than previously estimated.
Coppola said the ferry case will have to be made to Seattle business groups that it wouldn’t be good economically for them to see the ferry service continue to be threatened. “They’re going to make the case to their legislators, because they’re going to understand it’s money out of their pocket.”
Bauer said if the ferries stopped tomorrow it could have a bigger negative impact on the Seattle side than it would over here.