The House and Senate passed a supplemental transportation budget that will enable construction to begin on the second new 144-car ferry. These stories from local newspapers have more details on the budget:
From the Vashon Beachcomber:
“A bipartisan transportation supplemental budget that overwhelmingly passed in both chambers raises $57 million in new revenue over the remainder of the 2011-2013 biennium with various fee increases. The new money would primarily go toward debt service on a second 144-vehicle ferry, transit operation grants and provide seed money for future projects statewide.
“The Washington State Patrol and Washington State Ferries’ operations accounts, which are both projected to go into the red in 2013, would receive $16 million combined from the new revenues.”
From the Kitsap Sun:
“The Legislature provided $6.5 million to begin servicing $130 million in ferry bonds… Washington State Ferries will receive $7 million from the supplemental budget for a fuel reserve, although it’s not needed now…The ferries system also will get $1 million to plan to introduce liquid natural gas to the fleet, and $500,000 for a visual paging project… Stripped out of the budget, however, was wording that WSF had to maintain ferry routes and schedules at existing levels through the 2013-15 biennium.
“ ‘I greatly appreciate the dedication from our legislators to fund WSF, but this is only a down payment on the long-term needs of the system,’ said director David Moseley. ‘It is unfortunate that the governor’s proposal for a sustainable ferry system was not addressed this session.’ ”