low-wake ferries

Murray Seals Deal On Fast Foot Ferry Trial For Bremerton-Seattle

Thanks to $7.6 million more in federal monies for car and passenger ferries that was secured yesterday by U.S. Senator Patty Murray of Washington, Kitsap Transit will be fully funded for a six month trial run of a high speed, low wake passenger-only ferry to serve the Bremerton-Seattle route. The 118-seat passenger ferry is being manufactured by All American Marine in Bellingham, following authorization in April by the Kitsap Transit board of a $5.3 million construction contract. It’s expected to be built by next March and in operation as soon as next June. Funds to pay for the boat’s manufacture included proceeds from a special bonding arrangement between Kitsap Transit and the county’s housing authority, plus earlier federal grants. Also on the horizon is a passenger-only ferry run between Seattle and Kingston – on the Kitsap Peninsula’s northern tip. The Port of Kingston has $3.5 million in federal money to help launch the service with a new boat but must find funding for a back-up vessel. Here’s a business plan the port presented to the Puget Sound Regional Council (pdf).
This latest federal infusion for ferries in Washington state includes $1.3 million for operations of the new Kitsap Transit foot ferry in the planned six-month trial run, to evaluate how well wake impacts are reduced; and another $1.3 million to prepare the dock to accommodate the vessel, the Kitsap Sun reports today. The $7.6 million also includes $2 million for King County’s passenger ferry district to buy a replacement for the old, slow tour boat used on its popular West Seattle Water Taxi, and $3 million for Washington State Ferries toward upgrading its car ferry terminal in Anacortes, the gateway to the San Juan Islands.
Cascadia Center has consistently championed expanded foot ferries as part of a forward-looking multi-modal transit system for metro Puget Sound. Key touchpoints in this effort include a May, 2008 conference on the Seattle waterfront where another low-wake high-speed foot ferry built by All American Marine was demo’d. Cascadia also organized a July, 2007 foot ferry symposium at Salty’s in West Seattle and in 2003 organized a special trip for policy-makers and opinion leaders to the San Francisco Bay Area to see their extensive foot ferry system in operation.
The completion of funding for the fast foot ferry trial in Bremerton is the latest and most upbeat chapter in a long and drawn-out saga.

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