Cantwell Announces More Than $372,000 in Federal Funding for Kitsap Transit to Design Electric High-Speed Passenger Ferry

Electric Fast Foil Ferry will reduce noise and air pollution, help protect endangered Southern resident orcas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced that Kitsap Transit and the Washington Maritime Blue Fast Foil Ferry Team will receive $372,910 from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to design a model for a high-speed passenger ferry powered by battery-electric, low-emission technology. The funding will support efforts by the Electric Fast Foil Ferry project to electrify state and regional ferries and help reduce noise and air pollution.

“The innovative foil ferry offers a safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation option, while minimizing the environmental impact on air, water quality and marine life,” Senator Cantwell wrote in a letter of support to Acting FTA Administrator K. Jane Williams in June. “This is critically important to improving mobility while protecting our environment. Of particular importance, the reduction in vessel noise is a key goal in the protection of Southern resident orcas, which are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.”

The Electric Fast Foil Ferry project aims to develop an electric high-speed hydrofoil passenger ferry design and establish a replicable business model for fast ferry passenger service. The state-of-the-art hydrofoil design will rely on lightweight carbon fiber construction and batteries to speed up travel between urban centers and suburban and rural communities while significantly reducing fuel consumption compared to conventional fast ferries. Grant funding will enable Kitsap Transit and Washington Maritime Blue Fast Foil Ferry Team to study the feasibility of a regional public-private strategy and solve challenges related to technical, safety, operational and financial feasibility.

The funding for Kitsap Transit comes from the FTA’s Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) program, which encourages innovation in the transit industry by promoting forward-thinking approaches to improve financing, system design and service.