The Washington Ferry Coalition brings together ferry riders, community organizations and businesses that recognize the importance of an efficient ferry system to fill the transportation needs of Western Washington and serve as an economic asset for the entire state.
Washington State Ferries (WSF) ridership is expected to grow by more than 30 percent over the next 20 years, from 24 million today to 32.5 million in 2040. This increased demand presents challenges to an already overburdened fleet and aging infrastructure.
And by 2040, more than half of WSF’s 22-vessel fleet is due for retirement and replacement. Without significant investment in new vessels, there is growing risk to service reliability that accumulates every year.
That is why WSF’s 2040 Long Range Plan recommends building five new Olympic Class ferries as soon as possible: two ferries to stabilize the fleet and three to replace vessels due to retire.
Importantly, these five new ferries and future replacements would be built with electric-hybrid propulsion, and WSF is also recommending the conversion of six additional diesel vessels to plug-in hybrid. With the installation of terminal charging equipment, this new, greener fleet would achieve a 50 percent reduction in emissions and annual fuel consumption compared to today’s fleet.
Last year, the Legislature agreed with WSF’s recommendation and approved the extension of its ferry construction contract for up to five new ferries. But to date there is only enough funding to get started on the first of these ferries.
The Washington Ferry Coalition urges its members, business organizations, ferry communities, transportation advocates and all others who care about an effective and reliable state transportation system to show their support for additional ferry construction funding.