County Executive Dow Constantine also unveiled his budget plan today – and the county Department of Transportation calls our attention to the fact it includes the previously announced funding for new water-taxi vessels:
The 2013-14 biennial budget submitted today by King County Executive Dow Constantine includes $12.5 million for the design and construction of two new water taxis, subject to approval by the King County Ferry District. Federal grants will cover 80 percent of the total cost of the vessels with the balance coming from Ferry District revenues.
The County’s Marine Division currently operates passenger-only ferry service from downtown Seattle to West Seattle and Vashon Island using two twenty-plus year-old leased vessels that require frequent maintenance. The new boats are expected to carry between 225 and 250 passengers each.
Following approval of the budget, a request for proposals focused on vessel performance specifications will be issued. The county will then evaluate the proposals to determine which shipyard will construct the boats. The Marine Division anticipates issuing an award for construction of both vessels in early 2013.
The Marine Division expects delivery of the first vessel in early to mid-2014 with delivery of the second vessel expected by mid 2014.