Sidney's committed, Washington State Ferries is committed and now they hope to see the state committed.
The Town of Sidney approved a 20-year lease with the Seattle-based company for the Anacortes/Sidney route starting Jan. 1. It replaces the interim agreement in place since last year.
"We're waiting now for the final signature from Washington," said Sidney Mayor Larry Cross. "It means the (ferry) service has made a commitment to the run, and that's important."
With Washington State Ferries on board and demonstrating that they see merit in continuing the route, Cross expects the company will advocate for support from the state. Representatives from the Town of Sidney will join them in lobbying the state for approval, he added.
The route has been under threat of cancellation in recent years due to state funding cuts.
"Every year the rally is there and the state government has backed down," Cross said. The difference is in the signing of a long-term agreement, he noted.
It doesn't hurt that ridership on the Sidney-Anacortes run is up by 10 per cent over last year. According to Washington State Ferries, more than 98,000 passengers had travelled on the run through the end of August.
The ferry operates until Dec. 31 and resumes March 18, 2012. Information about fares and reservations can be found at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.
Did you know:
• Rent paid by Washington State Ferries will be placed in a reserve fund to be used for capital works at the terminal.
• The company will pay property taxes on the land of about $170,000. Of that, $70,000 is payable to the Town of Sidney.