A South Sound lawmaker has a suggestion for easing some of Interstate 5’s traffic woes: a passenger-only ferry run between Olympia and Seattle.
Sen. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, pre-filed proposed Senate Bill 6054 on Dec. 26. If passed into law, it calls for the Department of Transportation to launch a study of the idea.
“The study shall include consideration of a direct fast service and a slower service with additional limited stops,” the proposal stated. “The department shall work with stakeholders, including origin and destination transit agencies, cities and transportation planning organizations, and submit a final study to the transportation committees of the legislature by Jan. 7, 2019.”
Hunt's office told KING 5 that a ferry could use existing docks at the Port of Olympia and could include stops in Steilacoom and Tacoma’s Point Defiance, among other cities. Participating counties could share the costs.
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“A compact, modern-day fleet of passenger ferries running up the Puget Sound could offer an attractive alternative to commuting on I-5, as well as encouraging tourism between the Seattle area and the South Puget Sound,” Hunt's office wrote in a document explaining the bill.
Monday was the first day of the Legislature’s 2018 regular session in Olympia.