The following press release is from the Washington State Senate Republican Causus
According to an article in Tuesday’s Seattle Times, the state Department of Transportation has abandoned plans to build a 50-car ferry for the Port Townsend-Keystone route and instead will build two larger ferries.
The decision means residents of Anderson Island in Pierce County will get back their primary ferry, the Steilacoom II, by September 2008 rather than January 2009. The older backup ferry for the Anderson Island-Steilacoom run, the Christine Anderson, will instead serve as a temporary boat for the Port Townsend-Keystone run until the new ferries are completed in 2010.
“I’m happy to be able to bring this good news to the people of Anderson Island,” said Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, whose district includes Steilacoom and Anderson Island. “It wasn’t fair to give them a brand new boat, only to quickly take it away for use on waters that are too rough for a boat that size. I’m pleased that DOT has decided on a more common-sense solution to our ferry system’s problems.”
Carrell penned an editorial for The (Tacoma) News Tribune in February calling for DOT to reconsider plans to build new ferries based on the small, 50-car capacity design of the Steilacoom II, and instead build larger-capacity ferries to replace the outdated Steel Electric ferries that were pulled from service for safety reasons. Carrell’s editorial also called for DOT to return the Steilacoom II to residents of Anderson Island as quickly as possible.
“We appropriated more than $80 million this year for new ferry boats,” Carrell said, “and after the first and only bid to build the new ferries was rejected after it came in too high, it became apparent that something had to be done.
“The people of my district wanted their boat back, the people of north Puget Sound wanted a bigger boat for their ferry route and I’m glad that the DOT finally heard the message loud and clear,” Carrell said.