(Artist rendering of new vessels’ design)
The King County Ferry District has just announced the shipbuilder chosen for the two new Water Taxi vessels: All American Marine, based in Bellingham. We’ve been reporting on the plans to have two new vessels built; the expected $11.8 million cost of designing and building them, the county says, will be 80 percent footed by the Federal Transit Administration. Each boat will be able to carry up to 250 passengers, more than Rachel Marie and Melissa Ann, leased three years ago, and more than the district-owned Spirit of Kingston, taken over last year, which will stay with the fleet. The new boats also will have wider doors for faster boarding and more bicycle capacity – 26 per boat, up from 18 now. Construction is expected to start in early 2014, with the first vessel delivered by mid-2015, the second one by the end of 2015 – that’s another delay beyond what the county told us about back in August, when the scheduled had slipped to late 2014 for the first boat. The budget also had to be increased earlier this year when no “responsive” bid came in to meet the original $11.1 million budget.
P.S. Speaking of the Water Taxi – neither route runs on Christmas Day.