Washington State Ferries to get $38 million in federal funding to upgrade equipment
Aug 8, 2022, 11:43 AM
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After a slew of mechanical issues and one ferry that crashed into the Fauntleroy dock terminal, Washington State Ferries has announced that they will be receiving $38 million in funding from the federal government to invest in infrastructure for the ferry system.
The Federal Highway Administration announced it will award $173 million to the Ferry Boat Program, a considerable increase over last year’s funding of $77.6 million. Most of this funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides $550 billion in financing for infrastructure projects over the next 10 years.
The Ferry Boat Program helps fund ferry services across the country, including Washington state.
Washington State Ferries will get $38 million out of the Federal Ferry Boat Program, more than double what the state received in 2021.
The money is distributed based on ridership, vehicles transported, and the length of routes, which benefits WSF because they transport the most vehicles by ferry in the country.
According to Dana Warr, the WSF communications director, the money will be used mainly to fund renovations on the boats, but will also go toward emergency repairs and regulatory compliance as needed.
“We will use the funding for preventative maintenance, preservation, and improvement of ferry vessels to ensure the vessels remain in safe, efficient, and effective operating condition,” Warr said. “The primary use of the funds is for renovation, replacement or upgrade of vessel systems.”
We will use the funding for preventative maintenance, preservation, and improvement of ferry vessels to ensure the vessels remain in safe, efficient, and effective operating condition. The primary use of the funds is for renovation, replacement, and upgrading certain vessel systems.
Nine ferry operators in Washington will receive money – including smaller amounts to Kitsap Transit, Whatcom and Skagit Counties, and the Colville Confederated Tribes northwest of Spokane.
Ferries spokesperson Katharine Mesa says – despite the challenges – they’ve been working hard to serve their riders.
“We’ve been able to restore three of our routes to regular service,” said Katherine Mesa, a WSF spokeswoman. “And that’s on Anacortes, Mukilteo-Clinton, Seattle-Bainbridge.”
As more and more people come back to the ferry system, which is still working on hitting pre-pandemic levels, the infrastructure investment will be important in keeping the boats up and running.