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Legislator says state will keep all ferry routes going

WNPA Olympia News Bureau

The state Legislature will find the money needed to keep all state ferry routes open, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island), chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, said last week.

State officials have said since early January that up to five ferry routes — including Southworth — could be eliminated if no new revenue source for the ferry system is found.

“People get uptight because the governor and the Department of Transportation said if we don’t [find new revenue] then we’re going to cut all these ferry routes,” said Haugen. “We’re not going to cut all these ferry routes.”

Haugen and her counterpart in the House Transportation Committee, Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island), are working together on a revenue package that would keep all the ferries running at an acceptable capacity until a larger, more sustainable package can be instituted.

One revenue package that is not being counted on, however, is Gov. Chris Gregoire’s oil barrel fee, which she announced during her State of the State address in early January.

The governor proposed the $3.7 billion revenue resource package to help solve the state’s massive projected transportation maintenance deficit, which includes a $1.3 billion shortfall for ferry operations over the next 10 years.

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