(August 2011 photo of Spirit of Kingston at Seattle dock, by Oran Viriyincy, via Flickr)
Two weeks ago, we reported on the King County Ferry District‘s move to express interest in a federally funded boat no longer needed by its current owners. We’ve just followed up on the status of the Spirit of Kingston’s future – and it appears the boat is an almost sure bet to come be part of the King County Water Taxi system.
The Kitsap Sun reports that the Spirit of Kingston – which discontinued the Kingston-Seattle foot-ferry service for which it procured the boat – has passed a resolution to transfer it to King County. Transferring it means the Port of Kingston won’t have to pay back the $2 million-plus in federal grants that paid for the boat, which is slightly smaller, and much newer (7 years vs. almost 25 years). Now, King County just has to finalize the deal; that won’t happen before the first of the year, according to Michelle Allison, legislative assistant to County Councilmember Joe McDermott, chair of the King County Ferry District Board. She says he has formally sent the board-authorized letter of interest to the Federal Transit Administration, and a meeting between King County Marine Division and FTA is coming up, but one more KC Ferry Board vote is needed “to finalize the asset transfer.” The date for that is not yet set. As noted in our report from last month, the Spirit of Kingston would likely be used as a backup to both King County’s current leased boats and its future new boats (which also are being funded with federal grant money).