SEATTLE — The Washington State Ferry System’s long-range plan asks for five more Olympic class ferries — two to maintain the fleet and three to replace vessels due to retire.
KOMO-TV reports that 25 million riders have traveled among Puget Sound communities in 2017 alone.
That makes the ferry system the largest in the United States, but it’s an aging fleet. Ridership is expected grow by 30 percent by 2040.
Ferry system assistant secretary Amy Scarton says they can’t serve the public if they don’t have new vessels.
Over the next 20 years, 13 of the 22-vessel fleet will be eligible for retirement.
The primary challenge for state ferries, according to the draft plan, is lack of capital funding.
Implementing the plan over the next 20 years will cost $14.2 billion.