2:01 PM: We are at the Vigor shipyard on Harbor Island, where Gov. Jay Inslee has just ceremonially launched the program that will build at least one hybrid-electric vessel for Washington State Ferries. There’s funding for one – $160 million – in the state transportation budget over the next 3 years, and the WSF Long-Range Plan recommends more. Construction of the first one starts in 2021. At least two WSF Jumbo Mark II vessels will be converted, too. More to come.
3:45 PM: Back at HQ. Video added – first, the governor; then, Vigor’s Frank Foti:
Also speaking, state Transportation Secretary Roger Millar:
WSF boss Amy Scarton was also there to unveil the ceremonial sign:
The diesel-electric Olympic-class ferry has the same price tag as the non-hybrid types, WSF says. The governor said their advantages include less noise, important for our region’s endangered orcas, for whom vessel noise is a critical problem.
Vigor already has built four ferries in the 144-car Olympic class.