Friday, July 1, 2011

Newest ferry sets sail today

Washington’s newest ferry, the beautiful 64-car Salish, takes to the seas at noon today to begin decades of service to the people of Washington. The historic trip comes a day after a joyous celebration at the Port Townsend Ferry Terminal welcomed the Salish to the state ferry fleet.

House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn and 24th District Reps. Steve and Kevin Van De Wege were among the leaders who spoke about the importance of the Sa and our state ferries at the welcoming ceremony, which also featured songs and dances by local Native American performing artists.

The Salish and its sister, the Chetzemoka, will serve the Port Townsend/Coupeville route, and today’s sailing marks the first time since 2007 that two ferries have been available to provide full service the route.

This summer marks the 60th anniversary of the Washington State Ferry System, the largest ferry fleet in the nation. There will soon be more celebrations. Another 64-car boat, the Kennewick, will enter service in early 2012, and, thanks in large measure to Rep. Clibborn’s leadership, funding was secured this year for a new 144-car boat that will add another jewel to the fleet.