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Critic welcome at Island Transit
I feel I must respond to Mr. Burnett’s letter (News-Times, April 18), as well as to several public forums where misinformation and untruths continue to be expounded upon. It is apparent that Mr. Burnett could not have attended one of the multiple, public, advertised community input meetings, hearings, and open houses held over these many years on the new Island Transit facilities project. If he had, he would be aware of and understand the facts.
Comparing the flight activities between the OLF and Ault Field is simply not relevant. The Outlying Field is used by pilots to practice carrier landings and is within a high noise zone. As noted in a Whidbey News-Times article of Nov. 11, 2006, “to help protect such facilities, (such as OLF), from encroachment, Congress expanded the Private Lands Initiative to allow the military to work with government and private organizations to establish buffer areas around active training and testing areas.” At this time Island Transit purchased 7.5 acres which are now under a restrictive easement as a result of the Land Trust Initiative expansion. Island Transit, Whidbey Camano Land Trust and Plum Creek Timber worked very closely with the US Navy to ensure goals were met: encumber the land; provide agricultural land, scenic open space and critical wildlife habitat; protect a valuable military training area – without bringing new land into military fee ownership; and allow for the construction of the new essential Island Transit main base facilities.
Most distressing are the falsehoods continually uttered by Mr. Burnett and his cohorts that Island Transit misled Island County taxpayers about plans to use additional sales tax revenue provided by the 2009 ballot measure. Island Transit never stated nor remotely implied that the sales tax would be used to construct the facilities project. Quite the contrary, we belabored the fact that the local sales tax is used to sustain, maintain, and to expand when possible transit services to our citizens and that we were seeking federal funds for our large capital facilities project.
Our doors have always been open and we always have welcomed the many people who have called, emailed, or visited us to ask questions, gain clarification on issues and provide input. Our doors are as equally open to Mr. Burnett and we welcome a one-on-one visit with him at any time.
Martha M. Rose,
Director, Island Transit