News Releases

Murray Secures $8 Million for Washington State Ferries

Jul 11 2008

Critical funding will help maintain current ferry fleet, lead to new ferry solutions

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray today announced that she has included $8 million for Washington State Ferries and ferry related projects in the fiscal year 2009 Senate Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill which she wrote.  As Chairman of the THUD Committee, Murray uses her position to invest in community-backed Washington state projects that may not otherwise receive federal support. 

The bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday and will now go to the full Senate for a vote which has not yet been scheduled.

Five million dollars of the funding will go directly to Washington State Ferries to be used for maintenance purposes to help keep the fleet running. 

"This critical funding for Washington state's ferry system will help to maintain our ferries and keep them in service," Senator Murray said.  "An overcrowded ferry system is just like an overcrowded highway system. It creates gridlock, delays, and hurts our productivity. This investment keeps ferry commuters from being forced onto already overcrowded roads and bridges. And it ensures that communities who depend on ferries have access to reliable service."

In 2005, as the ranking member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murray boosted federal investment in ferry transportation during the reauthorization of the five-year surface transportation bill, known as SAFETEA-LU.

Through Senator Murray's efforts, SAFETEA-LU increased annual ferry funding over fiscal years 2005-2009 from $38 million in fiscal year 2005 to $67 million in fiscal year 2009.  This $5 million is a result of that effort.

Another $1 million will be used to continue passenger only ferry service between downtown Seattle and Vashon Island.  And an additional $2 million will complete a multi-year study to address environmental concerns related to passenger-only fast ferry service through Rich Passage.

Breakdown of Ferry Funding:

Washington State Ferries:  $5,000,000

This $5 million for Washington State Ferries comes from the federal Ferry Boats and Ferry Terminal Facilities Program, which Senator Murray worked to secure in the highway authorization bill, SAFETEA-LU.  The funding will be utilized by the agency for propulsion systems for maintenance of the ferry system. 

Vashon Island Passenger Ferry, King County: $1,000,000

The project would enable the continuation of passenger only ferry service between downtown Seattle and Vashon Island.  The Vashon Island passenger-only ferry is the only direct mode of transportation for local residents between Vashon Island and downtown Seattle.  This funding will be used to facilitate the continuation of this service by either purchasing a high-speed passenger only ferry vessel, or leasing or retrofitting one of the existing vessels and improving the docking facilities.

Kitsap Transit Rich-Passage Wake Impact Study, Kitsap County: $2,000,000

These funds will help complete a multi-year wake impact study.  The study's results will help shape a plan to address the environmental concerns and challenges related to passenger-only fast ferry service through Rich Passage.  Eventually, these research efforts will culminate into a viable high speed passenger-only fast ferry option that will link Bremerton and downtown Seattle in approximately 30 minutes.