College presidents urge vote for Valley Transit

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In writing to encourage support for Valley Transit, I am joined by my fellow college presidents -- John McVay of Walla Walla University and Steve VanAusdle of Walla Walla Community College.

On Feb. 9, Walla Walla voters will decide the future of Valley Transit. To some, the vote may seem to be no more than an initiative supporting and extending recent fare increases. To us, it represents a profoundly important referendum that directly affects the economy and welfare of our community.

A vote to approve the Valley Transit initiative is a vote to preserve access to jobs for our workers, access to services for our seniors, access to schools and churches for our families, and finally, access to Walla Walla's many business and agencies for community members and visitors.

The service Valley Transit provides is a lifeline in Walla Walla that must be sustained. By delivering workers to their jobs, seniors to health care and community agencies, students to our schools and shoppers to our many businesses, our transit system fuels economic development, educational opportunity and social mobility for those who cannot afford a vehicle of their own or who are incapable of transporting themselves to the services they need.

Valley Transit also provides clean, safe, sustainable transportation for hundreds of our college students who daily attend classes, shop and work locally, access childcare and provide volunteer service in the Walla Walla Valley.

Valley Transit offers vital transportation for individuals in all sectors of our community. A reduction of its services will have a deep and chilling effect on business, education and overall quality of life in Walla Walla. In these difficult economic times, severing Valley Transit's lifeline would hurt almost everyone in Walla Walla.

Together with the leaders of more than 80 local businesses and organizations, we urge you to support the Feb. 9 initiative and maintain the current level of excellent service Valley Transit provides.

George Bridges
President of Whitman College
Walla Walla

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