In his weekly update published July 13, David Moseley discussed recent Federal funds awarded to Washington ferries. He wrote:
New federal funding for WSF
Last week the U.S. Congress passed a federal transportation bill that will provide approximately $40 million for WSF over the next two years. This new source of funding will be a tremendous benefit to the ferry system. The average age of Washington’s ferries is significantly older than other major U.S. ferry systems, making our maintenance and infrastructure replacement costs higher. Funding will be used to renovate, replace and/or upgrade vessel components and systems including steel structures, interior spaces, piping, propulsion, major mechanical/electrical, communication/navigation/lifesaving and security equipment. Specific upcoming tasks which this project may cover include hull and topside paint and restoration of sea valves and propulsion systems. These funds will also help support WSF’s ongoing efforts to retrofit and improve vessels for greater fuel economy, making our ferry system more efficient and better able to deal with rising fuel costs, which have added substantially to our operating budget. The funding will also help pay for the Southworth Timber Trestle & Terminal Replacement Project, currently scheduled for construction in 2015-2018, and for propulsion system and navigation equipment for the new Olympic Class (144-car) ferries.
The bill that provides these funds is called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and is summarized here. According to Larry Ehl, founder and editor of Transportation Issues Daily, this bill is significant because ferry systems will receive a portion of these federal funds based on a formula instead of earmarks or competitive grants. Read his recent blog post to learn more.