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Washington State Ferries gets $4.8M for six aging vessels

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded $4.8 million to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to refurbish aging passenger spaces on six Issaquah-class ferries.

The grant will pay for upgrades on all six of WSF’s Issaquah Class Vessels, originally constructed between 1979 and 1982 and currently serving travelers in Mukilteo, Fauntleroy, Vashon, Southworth, Clinton, Anacortes, and the San Juan Islands. Funds came from the FTA’s 2023 Ferry Programs Grants, which was reauthorized in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is providing an additional $960,000 for the project. WSDOT plans to use the federal funding to help address passenger spaces on the M/V Cathlamet, M/V Chelan, M/V Issaquah, M/V Kitsap, M/V Kittitas, and M/V Sealth, which were built between 1979 and 1982. WSDOT estimates the project will extend the useful life of the aging vessels for another five to 10 years.

This project will improve passenger amenities, allowing for more space between passengers in high-occupancy areas, and making cleaning easier for WSF staff. The benefits will be primarily felt by the increasing number of walk-on riders in the nation’s largest ferry system. Members of Washington’s House delegation, led by Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2nd District), the lead Democrat on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and WSDOT Secretary Roger Millar celebrated FTA’s announcement.

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