What if we brought back the Tacoma-Seattle ferry? | KUOW News and Information

What if we brought back the Tacoma-Seattle ferry?

Sep 26, 2017

Bremerton is two months into operating its new fast ferry to Seattle, and now Tacoma is looking into the idea. Tacoma's City Council started discussions this week on the potential benefits of running a foot ferry to-and-from Seattle. City council member Ryan Mello is proposing the idea.

He says the city already sees congestion on Interstate 5, and must prepare for future growth.

Mello: "You know, I talk to constituents all the time who are, they're just frustrated because they are stuck in gridlock and spending too much time away from their family, so we're looking for every option we can find, and using our waterways is one of those options that I think is very much worth exploring."

The city council could vote soon on whether to authorize a feasibility study. Mello wants officials to study dock locations, parking lot space, and how much it would cost taxpayers. In Bremerton, the new fast ferry is being paid for by a 0.3 percent sales tax throughout Kitsap County.

Mello: "There's a huge balancing act here of time, this is all about getting people to where they need to go as quickly as possible, [and] cost, it can't be too expensive where riders won't ride and will choose other options instead."

He says as far as location, one natural spot to dock the ferryboat is Tacoma's Thea Foss Waterway, not far from downtown. Mello says he's not sure how long a ferry ride would take, but that it would significantly cut travel time. Driving or busing from Seattle to Tacoma can easily take longer than 90 minutes during rush hour.

If officials approve a ferry, service would be a few years away.

It would be the first passenger ferryboat to travel between Tacoma and Seattle in decades. In the early 1900's there was a mosquito ferryboat fleet throughout the Puget Sound region.