Congressman says Port Townsend to get $1.3 million for ferry

dicksU.S. Rep. Norm Dicks says that the U.S. Department of Transportation has approved the award of $1.3 million to the Port of Port Townsend, Washington, to assist in the construction of a passenger-only ferry boat and terminal facilities for roundtrip service to Seattle,.

The congressman said he was informed of the award by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who said the grant was made through the "Ferry Boat Discretionary" program that assists car and passenger service around the nation.

Rep. Dicks and Sen. Patty Murray had sought help from the agency to match $1 million in funding that had previously been allocated by the state to establish the regularly-scheduled ferry link to Seattle.

In supporting the Port's grant application, Rep. Dicks noted that the service would reduce the nearly three-hour travel time to Seattle for North Olympic Peninsula residents to 70 minutes.  He added "Regular ferry service will increase tourism, provide commuter access to Seattle for local residents and much-needed access to medical services and higher education opportunities."

Whether the grant is, in fact, for the "construction" of a ferry remains to be seen. Back  in 2010, Port Executive Director Larry Crockett proposed that port commissioners approve purchase of a used passenger-only vessel that would be leased to a private operator.

August 16, 2011

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