(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Appropriations Subcommittee announced that King County will receive $14,330,000 in federal funding for a pilot program to study congestion relief on Highway 520 and for critical ferry improvements under a Department of Transportation (DOT) program. 

“I’m so pleased that the Department of Transportation has acted to aid our region’s commuters by making this highly sought after investment right here in King County,” said Senator Murray. “King County residents know all too well how badly we need innovation and new investments to improve our transportation system. That’s why I’ve worked to ensure that federal transportation officials understand what King County families understand - that our ferry system is the backbone of our transportation system and that we need solutions to 520 Bridge congestion now.”

The funding announced today comes from the Department of Transportation’s Urban Partnership program which is designed to relieve urban congestion. Seattle is one of only five cities nationwide that were selected to receive the funding. Senator Murray has worked to ensure that the Secretary of Transportation and other DOT officials understand the congestion challenges Seattle faces and the importance of the ferry system and the 520 bridge. In November 2006, prior to the beginning of the Urban Partnership selection process,  Senator Murray toured King county congestion hotspots with Transportation Secretary Mary Peters. The tour included a visit to the 520 bridge and a briefing on the Washington State Ferry System.

A summary of the funding announced today follows:

  • 520 Bridge - Value Pricing Pilot Program Project (WashDOT)  – $6,430,000  - To conduct preliminary engineering, design, implementation of varible pricing and active traffic management projects for the SR 520 Bridge.
  • Small Passenger Only Vessels (Kitsap Transit) - $2,000,000 - High-speed, ultra low-wake passenger-only ferry design, development, procurement and testing for rich passage in the Puget Sound
  • Vashon Island Passenger Replacement Ferry Acquisition (King County) - $1,000,000 - Vashon Island Passenger-Only Ferry Vessel – To purchase a new vessel to replace the boat currently in service.
  • Kingston Seattle Passenger Only Ferry (Port of Kingston) - $3,500,000
    Kingston Express – to lease or buy an existing 80 passenger foot ferry
  • Guemes Island Ferry Dock Repair- $736,000 - To remove and replace the existing Guemes Island terminal dock; Repair cap beam at the channel end of the dock; Remove and replace the existing concrete cap; Form and place epoxy coated reinforcing steel, and pour new corrosion resistant concrete; and replace 118 feet of steel guard rail
  • New Vessel Program (Washington State Ferries) - $664,000
    For use on the new vessel program.