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Tuesday, January 8, 2019 

Seattle-based Washington State Ferries plans to order 16 news vessels to replace an ageing fleet, of which 23 vessels are set to be decommissioned by 2040.

The ferry operator says there is a need for 16 new vessels, including 13 ferries to replace vessels due for retirement and three additional vessels to fill in when other ferries are out for maintenance and to respond to growth.

The recommendations form part of the a newly released 2040 Long Range Plan, which WSF submitted to the Washington State Legislature on 3 January 2019.

“This Long Range Plan provides a blueprint to guide WSF’s investments and meet our customers’ service expectations,” Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton said. “We need to invest immediately in building new ferries, developing our workforce and upgrading technology and terminals to provide reliable, sustainable and resilient ferry service through 2040 and beyond.”

The Long Range Plan builds upon WSF’s 2009 Long Range Plan by focusing on a set of investments and service enhancements for the agency to implement over the next 20 years.

In addition to recommending that the state build new ferries immediately, the plan includes investments in terminal improvements to support more reliable service, a focus on new technology and strategies to improve the customer experience and manage growth.

For the first time, the WSF Long Range Plan includes recommendations for greening the ferry fleet and preparing for climate change and seismic events. The plan calls for electrifying the ferry fleet to reduce fuel use, emissions, noise and maintenance costs.

WSF will use the plan to guide projects and adapt to changing conditions through 2040.

Washington State Ferries, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and safely and efficiently carries 24.5 million people a year through some of the most majestic scenery in the world. 


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