Ferries get boost from FAST-Act emphasis on passengers

State and local ferries in Washington will get a boost in funding from the FAST-Act approved by Congress late last year due to an overall increase, and a new formula.

[caption id="attachment_8503" align="alignleft" width="300"]Steilecoom II Pierce County ferries are among those that benefit from the federal ferry formula program. In 2016, ferries in Washington will get 22 percent of the nation's ferry formula funds.[/caption]

The Federal Highway Administration ferry formula program gets $80 million per year in the FAST-Act, an increase of $13 million from prior years.

Senator Patty Murray’s office, which keeps close tabs on the program, says a new formula with more emphasis on passengers benefits ferries in Washington.

The new formula is based on 35% passengers, 35% vehicles, and 30% route miles.

The prior formula was 20% passengers, 45% vehicles and 35% route miles.

Washington is one of 38 states and territories that benefit from the program: Alaska and Washington are typically – by far - the largest beneficiaries.

Washington state will receive 22 percent of the entire program – the bulk of it put to work in Puget Sound.

Also included in the FAST-Act: a $30 million per year Federal Transit Administration competitive grant program for passenger ferries.

Here are the FHWA's projections for ferry formula funding this year for the entire state, based on the new formula and funding increase:

Washington

$17,965,202

 Colville  Confederated Tribes (Inchelium-Gifford Ferry)

281,664

 King County Ferry District

60,234

 Kitsap Transit ‎

131,296

 Lake Chelan Ferry Company

172,184

 Pierce County Public Works and Utilities

270,152

 Skagit County Department of Public Works

310,445

 Wahkiakum County

93,669

 Washington State Ferries Washington State DOT

16,295,854

 Whatcom County Public Works Department

349,704