No Ferry Taxing District, $7.5 Million Requested For New Ferry

Guemes Ferry Replacement Project in line for $7.5 million in state funding

At its April 19 meeting, the County Road Administration Board (CRAB) voted unanimously to forward a $7.5 million funding request for Skagit County’s Guemes Island Ferry Replacement Project to the state Legislature for possible approval in 2019.

“Funding approval from CRAB is a tremendous momentum boost for our project to replace the M/V Guemes with a new, environmentally conscious vessel,” said Public Works Director Dan Berentson. “With continued support from Guemes Island residents – and, hopefully, the 2019 Legislature – we’re committed to building a new vessel that is reliable, efficient and safe for Guemes Island residents and visitors.”

The unanimous vote by the CRAB board is not a guarantee of funding. It means that Skagit County’s funding request for $7.5 million will be submitted to the 2019 Legislature for funding as part of the biennial or supplemental budget request.Skagit County was the only county to submit an application for the County Ferry Capital Improvement Program, administered by CRAB.

CRAB formed a technical review committee, comprised of the CRAB executive director, along with several other technical experts, to review the project proposal.The County’s application had to meet a variety of Washington Administrative Code standards, adhere to commonly held engineering practices and cost-effectiveness, and provide evidence that the county had also sought funding through the public works trust fund or other available revenue sources.

The CRAB technical committee recommended that Skagit County be awarded up to 50 percent of the project cost if it formed a ferry district, and up to 30 percent of the cost if it did not form a ferry district. The Board of County Commissioners clarified to CRAB on April 19 that they did not intend to form a ferry district, and officially requested $7.5 million in funding.