Improvements to Mukilteo and Seattle ferry terminals coming

The Washington State Department of Transportation Ferry Division is seeking approved Transportation 2040 project status from PSRC for two ferry terminal projects slated to begin construction in 2017.

Improvements to two ferry terminals on deck for 2017.

Improvements to two ferry terminals on deck for 2017.

The Colman Dock project will replace the aging and seismically vulnerable components of the Seattle Ferry Terminal to maintain safe and reliable ferry service in the future. Key elements include replacement of the timber trestle portion of the dock, the main terminal building, staff building, entry building, the foot ferry facility, the vehicle transfer span, the overhead loading structures, and landing aids of Slip 3 as well as adding a new bicycle facility and maintaining a connection to the Marion Street pedestrian overpass. The total project cost is $347 million.

The Mukilteo Terminal project consists of the replacement of the existing Mukilteo Ferry Terminal with a new facility, relocated one-third of a mile east, constructed within a former tank farm site. Key features include a one vessel slip, a two-story terminal building with overhead pedestrian loading, bicycle and HOV holding lanes, expansion of the vehicle holding lanes and a bus transit center. The total project cost is $134.7 million.

Both projects are consistent with Transportation 2040, financially feasible and meet federal, state, and local requirements.

The Transportation Policy Board will make a recommendation at its meeting on November 10, 2016. See the full agenda here.


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Kitsap voters to decide on new fast ferries

This week Kitsap Transit’s Board of Directors voted  to let the county’s voters decide by November 8th on new passenger ferry service connecting the county with downtown Seattle.


Kitsap voters will decide on new fast passenger service connecting Bremerton, Kingston and Southworth with downtown Seattle.

Under the plan, 35 minute Bremerton service would start by July next year. Kingston would get 40 minute service by July 2018.  Southworth would get 30 minute service in 2020.

In all, six boats would ultimately connect Kitsap to Seattle’s Pier 50 – right next to the state ferry terminal.

Kitsap Transit would partner with the King County Marine Division (which operates the Water Taxi) to operate the service.

According to the latest report on the plan, King County is expressing strong support:

“They see it as a sound example of regional cooperation and an excellent opportunity to leverage local resources to the benefit of both King and Kitsap counties.”

Nearly three in four Kitsap survey respondents have supported pursuing the service.

86% have said it will help the local economy.

Voters will be asked for a 3/10ths of one percent increase in the sales tax – which would be combined with fares and grants to fund the service.

Passenger ferry service connecting Bremerton, Kingston and Southworth as long been a priority in the region’s transportation plans.

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Ferry ridership on the rise

Annual ridership on Washington State Ferries in the Puget Sound region increased in 2015 by almost 3%, marking the third year of consecutive growth in ferry ridership.

Total ferry ridership in the region was 22,357,044 in 2015.

Total ferry ridership in the region was 22,357,044 in 2015.

WSF ferry ridership in 2015 was 21.2 million distributed over six auto-routes. Each route experienced growing ridership.

Ferry ridership on county-provided service has experienced strong growth since 2006, growing almost 70%.

County-level operators have increased service frequency to meet growing demand. A large share of this growth is on King County Ferry District service to Vashon Island and West Seattle. Overall annual boardings neared 1.2 million on county-provided service in 2015.

For more ferry ridership data, see the full Trend.

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Ferries get boost from FAST-Act emphasis on passengers

State and local ferries in Washington will get a boost in funding from the FAST-Act approved by Congress late last year due to an overall increase, and a new formula.

Steilecoom II

Pierce County ferries are among those that benefit from the federal ferry formula program. In 2016, ferries in Washington will get 22 percent of the nation’s ferry formula funds.

The Federal Highway Administration ferry formula program gets $80 million per year in the FAST-Act, an increase of $13 million from prior years.

Senator Patty Murray’s office, which keeps close tabs on the program, says a new formula with more emphasis on passengers benefits ferries in Washington.

The new formula is based on 35% passengers, 35% vehicles, and 30% route miles.

The prior formula was 20% passengers, 45% vehicles and 35% route miles.

Washington is one of 38 states and territories that benefit from the program: Alaska and Washington are typically – by far – the largest beneficiaries.

Washington state will receive 22 percent of the entire program – the bulk of it put to work in Puget Sound.

Also included in the FAST-Act: a $30 million per year Federal Transit Administration competitive grant program for passenger ferries.

Here are the FHWA’s projections for ferry formula funding this year for the entire state, based on the new formula and funding increase:



 Colville  Confederated Tribes (Inchelium-Gifford Ferry)


 King County Ferry District


 Kitsap Transit ‎


 Lake Chelan Ferry Company


 Pierce County Public Works and Utilities


 Skagit County Department of Public Works


 Wahkiakum County


 Washington State Ferries Washington State DOT


 Whatcom County Public Works Department


Welcome to new King County ferry, the Doc Maynard

A new King County ferry – the Doc Maynard – was dedicated today at Pier 50 in downtown Seattle.

photo of Doc Maynard ferry dedication

Dedicating the new Doc Maynard ferry: Rick Krochalis, Regional Administrator for Region 10, FTA; Greg Nickels, former Seattle Mayor; Joe McDermott, King County Councilmember; and Dow Constantine, King County Executive

The ship is named for an influential figure in King County’s early history — Seattle’s first physician, merchant, and justice of the peace.

According to HistoryLink, Maynard was known for his amiability and his high regard for the local Native Americans. He urged fellow pioneers to rename Duwamps (Seattle’s original name) to Seattle to honor his friend Chief Seattle.

The Doc Maynard will be put into service on the Vashon to Seattle route for up to four weeks while another King County ferry, the Sally Fox, undergoes maintenance.

Both boats were built by All American Marine, a Northwest company based in Bellingham.  Since 2012, PSRC has provided a total of $1.3 million in federal funding to the King County Ferry District for vessel acquisition.

When the Sally Fox returns, the Doc Maynard will carry passengers from West Seattle to downtown, increasing the capacity on this popular route.

King County ferry ridership has surged this year.  For the first six months of 2015, West Seattle ridership was up 20 percent over the same period last year, and up 6 percent on the Vashon route, according to King County data.


New passenger-only ferry service in the works

Residents of Kitsap County traveling to Seattle could have a faster commute under a Kitsap Transit plan for new passenger-only ferry service.

Kitsap Transit is proposing to partner with King County operate and manage new ferry service.

Kitsap Transit is proposing to partner with King County to  operate and manage fast ferry service between Kitsap and downtown Seattle.

The agency recently launched the Ferry Connections website, which provides details on the plan and opportunity for people to comment.

The plan proposes six daily round-trips each for three routes from Bremerton, Kingston and Southworth to downtown Seattle.

Passenger-only ferry service and King County bus service from downtown Seattle would be integrated for a seamless commute.

Over the next year, Kitsap Transit will refine the business plan based on public input, work with the state legislature on additional funding options and develop alternative capital funding and phasing plans.

A local revenue source will be necessary to supplement capital costs not covered by grants and to subsidize operating costs beyond those covered by farebox revenues.

It’s anticipated that grant funding could help pay for a portion of terminal improvements and vessel acquisition.

New passenger-only ferry service between downtown Seattle and Bremerton, Kingston, and Southworth is part of the region’s long-range Transportation 2040 plan.

The 2014 Regional Travel Study found that about 14 percent of the Kitsap workforce commutes to jobs in King County.

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Vashon water taxi now in service

The MV Sally Fox began foot ferry service on April 7, 2015.

The new Vashon Water Taxi MV Sally Fox is in service for the weekday commute.

The new Vashon Water Taxi MV Sally Fox is in service for the weekday commute.

Vashon commuters can now sail directly from the northern tip of the island to downtown Seattle.

The Sally Fox departs Pier 50 in Seattle at 5:30 AM and operates its first 22 minute crossing from Vashon to Seattle at 6:10 AM. The taxi runs continuously until its 8:15 AM departure from Vashon.

In the evening it runs from 4:30 to 7 PM. The water taxi only runs Monday through Friday.

The regular adult fare is $5.50 in cash or $4.75 on an ORCA card.




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