Existing Federal Funding Helps Cover Projected Cost of WA Ferries Hybrid-Electric Conversions, Announces Cantwell

Ferries to be converted by Vigor at its Harbor Island shipyard; total project cost is $290M, federal funding totals $44.6M

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced that $44.6 million (15.4%) of the $290 million project cost of converting three Washington State Ferries to hybrid-electric propulsion systems will be covered by federal funding that has already been awarded. A $100 million contract for a portion of the project has been awarded to Vigor with a fixed-price option of $50 million to convert a third vessel in 2025. Vigor will conduct the work to convert the vessels at its Harbor Island shipyard in Seattle.

“This announcement charts a course for our ferry system to be cleaner, more sustainable, and more reliable, using the world-class labor of Washington’s shipbuilders,” said Sen. Cantwell. “Converting the fleet’s three biggest emitters from diesel to hybrid-electric power will drastically reduce emissions and fueling costs. Federal funding to improve our nation's transportation system and fight climate change made this milestone possible, covering a portion of the cost of modernizing these iconic ferries.”

The $100 million contract covers the conversion of two Jumbo Mark II-class ferries to hybrid-electric power, with a fixed-price option of $50 million to convert the third vessel in 2025. The contract also includes planned replacement of the propulsion control systems, which will increase reliability and the lifespan of the three ferries.

Federal funding for the entire $290 million project is an estimated $44.6 million, 15.4% of the total cost.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Sen. Cantwell has consistently championed investments in the State of Washington’s transportation systems and has helped secure federal funding for important infrastructure and transit expansion projects throughout the state.

In January, Sen. Cantwell announced that Washington State Ferries would receive three grants from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) totaling $11.6 million, including a grant to electrify the Mukilteo-Clinton route. Sen. Cantwell also played an instrumental role in securing $25 million to replace the 60-year-old Lummi Island ferry with a state-of-the-art electric hybrid vessel.

Sen. Cantwell has been a strong supporter of robust increases to competitive transit grant programs such as the Capital Investment Grant Program, the Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant Program, the Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Program, and the Passenger Ferry Grant Program