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:



 Colville  Confederated Tribes (Inchelium-Gifford Ferry)


 King County Ferry District


 Kitsap Transit ‎


 Lake Chelan Ferry Company


 Pierce County Public Works and Utilities


 Skagit County Department of Public Works


 Wahkiakum County


 Washington State Ferries Washington State DOT


 Whatcom County Public Works Department