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Ferry supporters heading to Olympia

"Whidbey Island residents will take part in a large pro-ferries rally to be held in Olympia on Thursday.Sponsored the the Ferry-Dependent Counties Coalition, the rally is meant to influence legislators to provide ferry funding to make up for cutbacks caused by I-695.Islanders interested in going can carpool at the U.S. Bank parking lot in Langley. Langley Chamber of Commerce manager Loretta Martin said there was quite a bit of interest at the board meeting (last week) when the issue was discussed. She and Sybil Yates were going for sure, as was Jack Negus of the Whidbey Island Transportation Association. Island County was also expected to be represented.Anyone needing a ride should be at the bank parking lot at 8 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, Martin said.Hundreds of ferry supporters are expected to pour into Olympia, some coming by the rented Victoria Clipper boat from the Bremerton area. On board will be supporters of continued state funding of Washington State Ferries service.After they arrive at the capitol, they'll plead their case for ferries, including urging legislators to maintain funding for a year to 18 months while possible alternative forms of ferry transportation are studied.About 30 percent of overall state ferry service and all passenger-only service is scheduled to be cut this summer because of budget cuts brought on by the voter-approved Initiative 695 repeal of the state motor vehicle excise tax.The Ferry-Dependent Counties Coalition includes government representatives of Kitsap County, Vashon Island, San Juan County, Island County, and Clallam and Jefferson counties.Additional information about the rally or a copy of the petition supporting ferry service is available at ferryrally.homepage.com/ "

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