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Mayor Greg Wheeler sent a letter to WA Governor Jay Inslee’s office on Friday, Sept. 16 requesting state support for temporary expansion of Kitsap Transit ferry service due to deep cuts in the state ferry system’s Bremerton-Seattle route caused by labor shortages, among other issues. The letter was signed by Mayor Wheeler, Kitsap Transit’s Executive Director, local Mayors, County Commissioners, state legislators and others.
The letter asks for relief for residents impacted by the cuts until Washington State Ferries (WSF) can fully restore service. The Bremerton route is not expected to be fully restored by WSF until next year, adding to the hardship and financial impacts experienced by individuals, families and businesses.
As stated in the letter to the Governor: “Service cuts to the route have gone beyond a major inconvenience and have rendered the system unusable to numerous residents.” The signers of the letter expressed that a short-term expansion of Kitsap Transit ferry service could ease the pressure on local area residents with the state’s help: “We are in a moment that offers the State of Washington an opportunity to meet the urgent need and provide some relief for Bremerton and surrounding communities.”
Those signing the letter include Mayor Greg Wheeler, Bremerton; Kitsap Transit Executive Director John Clauson; Mayor Becky Erickson, Poulsbo; Mayor Rob Putaansuu, Port Orchard; Mayor Joe Deets, City of Bainbridge; Kitsap County Commissioners Ed Wolfe, Rob Gelder and Charlotte Garrido; Leslie Schneider, Bainbridge Councilmember; Senators Christine Rolfes and Emily Randall; Representatives Tarra Simmons and Drew Hansen.
Read the full letter here.