Washington State House Democrats


Morris sponsors bill to fund additional 144-car ferry

OYLMPIA – Funding for a second 144-car ferry and $25 million in ferry service funding may become a reality thanks to legislation sponsored by Rep. Jeff Morris. Introduced today in the House, the proposal would also fund priorities like restoring the Washington State Patrol auto-theft program, funding for critical local road projects, and preserving state highways.

“Our aging ferry boats are a current source of service headaches and a real liability for future problems,” said Morris, D-Mount Vernon. “This bill gets us in line to produce another 144-car ferry that will help bring high-capacity and consistent ferry service to our communities.”

House Bill 2053 would generate the additional funding by capturing the actual cost of driver and vehicle services. By realigning the fees associated with those services, transportation funding that is currently subsidizing those transactions can be restored to statewide transportation needs.

“Ferry service is too critical for our island communities to not consider every efficiency and option,” Morris said. “Realigning fees to the true cost of the service will free up gas-tax revenues to fund critical transportation needs around our state, like our marine highways.”

Examples of the realigned fees include license renewals increasing by $15 and applications for vehicle titles going up $7.50.

Bonding authority would be authorized for the additional 144-car ferry using $10 million of the new funds. The $25 million for ferry service consists of $17 million towards increased fuel costs, $4 million to offset potential fare increases, and $4 million to restore proposed service cuts.

Morris is also the lead on legislation to improve management of the ferry system, House Bill 1516, which is currently awaiting action on the Senate floor.

The House Transportation Committee has scheduled the bill Monday for a public hearing.