PORT ORCHARD — For Steve Sego, the question of whether to support Prop. 1, the passenger-only fastferry funding proposal before Kitsap County voters next month, is a rhetorical question.
“I’ve lived and worked all over the world,” the Port Orchard businessman said. “But I actually grew up onRich Passage. I felt a real connection to the water and to the boats that went past on their way toBremerton.
“When I lived in Washington, D.C. and New York, I took public transit all the time. In D.C., especially, tocommute to work I would take the bus and then the ferry.”
Because of legal restrictions on what public agencies can do to promote (or oppose) specific ballotmeasures, Kitsap Transit concentrates instead on providing information to the population of KitsapCounty, by which voters can make informed decisions at the ballot.
Instead, it has fallen to private citizens like Sego to champion Prop. 1, the proposal to build a modern,efficient rapid-ferry system. Sego had his last chance to make that case on Oct. 13 at the Port OrchardChamber of Commerce’s monthly membership meeting. (Other local elected leaders and candidates whobraved the howling winds and driving rain to hear Sego speak at McCormick Woods included KitsapCounty commissioners Ed Wolfe and Charlotte Garrido, and 26th District state House candidate LarrySeaquist.) But rather than simply pitch the fast ferries, Sego also shared the source of his lifelong passionto forward-reaching projects like this.
“Almost every major city in the world has good public transportation options like ferries and rail,” hesaid. “We just need a few visionaries who can see beyond a fight over what 3/10 of a percent (sales tax)means.”
The proposal calls for an increase in the local sales tax of .03 of a cent (equating to a three-cent increaseon a $10 purchase). Kitsap Transit officials have estimated the measure would cost each familyapproximately $59 per year. The measure would also provide the public transit system with $1.5 millionin additional revenue — allowing for an estimated 23,000 additional hours of bus service in KitsapCounty.
“Yes, there are opponents,” Sego said. “But the more we do to get the word out and explain the fundingmechanism, they’re getting behind it.” The Friends of the Fast Ferry Facebook page has garnered 2,000likes, with an additional 100 likes each day.
“People want to believe in tomorrow,” Sego said.
Mark Briant is a reporter for the Central Kitsap Reporter and Bremerton Patriot. He can be reached email@example.com.