New Mukilteo ferry terminal needs $38M but work moves on

OLYMPIA — Two hurdles to building a new ferry terminal in Mukilteo should be cleared this spring, but state leaders must deal with a looming lack of money to build it.

After years of efforts, there is a $38 million hole in the budget for a new terminal at the former Air Force tank farm, east of the existing terminal. And there are signs it could grow larger.

Ground won’t be broken until 2015, at the earliest, giving ferry officials time to pull together funds from state and federal sources to cover the $140 million tab.

“I’m confident. This has been too long in coming,” said Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine. “Everybody knows this project has to be done.”

Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, serves on the House Transportation Committee, which is drafting a new transportation budget. The state has made its commitment clear by paying several million dollars for environmental work thus far, he said.

“My goal is to make sure we keep the project on track, because it’s a critical improvement that needs to be done,” said Liias, a former Mukilteo councilman. “We need all the money identified before we start.”

The Mukilteo ferry terminal is among the busiest in the state’s marine highway system. It has not had significant improvements for almost 30 years and frequent users know well the congestion and conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians with the current layout.

Last May, the state chose as its preferred site at the old fuel depot. Of three alternatives, it is the closest to the transit center and Sound Transit commuter rail station. The other options were to renovate the ferry dock at its current location or build at the far east end of the tank farm.

As proposed, the state will erect four new toll booths and a new building and entryway for walk-on passengers.

The final environmental impact statement on the project is expected to be released in April. Then the Air Force can transfer its land to the Port of Everett, which will then give a slice to the state for the ferry terminal.

Agreements need to be reached with tribes regarding protection of cultural resources and treaty rights for fishing. The goal is to wrap those up this year, ferry officials said.

The terminal project’s estimated $140 million price tag includes a reserve.

Lawmakers and former Gov. Chris Gregoire only socked away $102 million in the current state transportation budget for preliminary engineering and construction through 2019.

The $38 million hole could grow to $58 million because Washington State Ferries wants to use some of those construction dollars now, knowing that the big checks for the Mukilteo terminal won’t need to be written for a couple of years.

David Moseley, assistant secretary of transportation in charge of ferries, said he’s optimistic that federal money can be secured and, maybe, extra state dollars too if a new transportation funding package wins voter approval in the next couple of years.

“I don’t think we’ll have it solved in 2013,” he said

By Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

District takes steps to secure school campuses

Safety measures have been enhanced at Hawthorne and Silver Firs elementary schools in Everett.

Local police join thousands honoring slain Canadian officer

Abbotsford Const. John Davidson was killed Nov. 6 in a shootout with a suspected car thief.

Hard work is paying off for Mariner High senior

Mey Ly has excelled in school since moving here from Cambodia; she also serves as an intrepreter.

1 arrested after SWAT team moves in on Marysville house

The incident was connected to an earlier robbery.

Darrington School Board race might come down to a coin flip

With a one-vote difference, a single ballot in Skagit County remains to be counted.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

No easy exit from Smokey Point shopping complex

There’s just no easy exit on this one. A reader called in… Continue reading

County Council upholds ban on safe heroin injection sites

At Monday’s public hearing, more than 15 people spoke in support of the ban. No one spoke against it.

Lynnwood, Marysville, Sultan consider ban on safe injection sites

If approved, they would join Lake Stevens and Snohomish County, which have temporary bans.

Most Read