Governor focuses on buying new ferries

Governor Chris Gregoire Tuesday announced the next step to secure new ferries in Washington. Washington State Ferries has accepted a Notice of Intent for a Joint Single Proposal from three area shipyards – Todd Pacific Shipyards, J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corporation and Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Inc. – to build four new 144-vehicle ferries.

“I am committed to making sure that Washingtonians have reliable ferries available for commuting and recreation and am pleased that these competing shipyards came together on a proposal that will benefit our citizens,” said Governor Chris Gregoire. “The construction of four new ferries will move us toward a goal to renew the state’s fleet.”
The three shipyards provided a letter of intent on June 13 to submit a joint proposal. After careful review, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) / Washington State Ferries (WSF) accepted the intent for proposal.

“Although an encouraging beginning, there is still more to do before the first ferry comes into service,” said Mike Anderson, Executive Director of WSF. “Now WSDOT/WSF and the prime contractor – Todd Pacific Shipyards – will begin to negotiate the terms and conditions of the contract. I am hopeful that this is the first of many positive announcements with respect to this process and we applaud Governor Gregoire for her leadership on this effort.”

Funding for the new vessel program was first received in 2003. In 2007, $347.6 million was approved for building the new vessels. The four new vessels will be used system-wide.