Federal government grants Port Townsend $1.3 million for new foot ferry
The Port of Port Townsend will receive $1.3 million from the federal government toward building a passenger ferry boat to run between Port Townsend and Seattle. U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks said Monday that he was informed of the allocation by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood through the government’s “ferry boat discretionary” program.
The money will be used for the design and construction of a new boat specific to the needs of traveling the route, which will cut the travel time from Port Townsend to Seattle to 70 minutes, Dicks said in a statement.
The port envisions a boat about 56 feet long that will carry 49 passengers — ahead of the threshold that requires additional crew and increases expense, Crockett said. The boat will be able to make the trip in 75 minutes with two round trips a day to start.
Because of the requirements of the Point Hudson dock, the first trip will leave Port Townsend in time to arrive in Seattle at 10 a.m., return to Port Townsend and make a second late afternoon/evening run to Seattle. It will not be a commuter service, although people with a flexible schedule may be able to use it for that purpose, Pivarnik said.
It will instead be more geared toward tourists, a possibility that excites Port Townsend city marketing director — and Jim Pivarnik’s wife — Christina Pivarnik.
“I am ecstatic about this,” she said. “This opens a lot of possibilities for downtown businesses.”
Christina Pivarnik said the ferry can be marketed to tourists and those whose spouses are in Seattle for weeklong conventions, who want to take day trips “to see something different.” Packages including lodging at local hotels and bed and breakfast inns will also appeal to visitors, she said.
Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Teresa Verraes said the passenger ferry could change how people travel from Port Townsend to Seattle, and thinks it will greatly benefit both cities.
“This is the best [economic] news I’ve heard in years,” she said.