LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Service is important to economy
July 21, 2009 · Updated 4:12 PM
To the editor:
Whidbey Island is a very unique geographic setting. For many Island County residents, ferry travel is required to get to better-paying jobs.
Due to rising fuel and ferry costs, increasingly long ferry lines, and full park-and-rides, it would be inarguably expensive, prohibitively time-consuming and/or impossible for most of these commuters to live on Whidbey Island without the Island Transit system. The Clinton to Mukilteo run would need an estimated additional 14.6 new ferry crossings without Island Transit.
Island Transit is a major revenue enabler for Island County. Both by bus and vanpool, Island Transit carries 1,000-plus Island County residents daily to off-island jobs. With these salaries, commuters and their families are able to live on Whidbey, purchase homes, support businesses, and pay taxes in Island County.
If you conservatively estimate the average annual salary of off-island commuters to be $50,000, that amounts to $50 million brought back to Island County. This money circulates over and over again to the benefit of the island economy.
Additionally, hundreds of thousands of riders use Island Transit to get to jobs on-island, for shopping, and to spend tourism dollars that bolster our local economy. The reduction of traffic, as well as the environmental, energy saving, educational, medical, and social advantages from Island Transit are immeasurable and benefit everyone.
Island Transit’s fare-free system works, and is renowned throughout Washington State and the nation, but if the 3/10 of 1 percent sales tax increase does not pass, Island Transit will be forced to reduce service by 33 percent.
For more information please contact www.saveoursystem.net, call 360-672-1351, or go to the Island Transit Web site at www.islandtransit.org.
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