• State considering feasibility study for potential Tacoma fast ferry

    By: Kevin McCarty

    Updated:

    It's been nearly two years since the idea of a new fast ferry between Tacoma and Seattle was first suggested. Since then the proposal has been studied by the city of Tacoma and possible routes for the boats laid out.

    On Wednesday, Tacoma city council member Ryan Mello, who first introduced the idea, presented a feasibility study to the Washington State Department of Transportation Commission. Mello says he's also gotten backing from state Rep. Jake Fey that could mean state money for more planning.

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    “We’re getting away from the high level, should we do this or not, to how do we do it and when,” Mello said. “So we’re getting closer.”

    Mello introduced the idea in 2017 of a fast ferry that would move hundreds of commuters from Tacoma to Seattle. He based the proposal on the success of walk-on ferries traveling from Bremerton to Seattle using boats commissioned by Kitsap County's transportation department. The passenger-only ferries move fast and reduce damaging wake that harms shorelines and marine life.

    Several possible routes from Tacoma north are under consideration, including a dock near the new Point Ruston development on the city's revitalized waterfront, another from Point Defiance, and two possibilities from the Foss waterway near downtown.

    Mello said at this point everything is in the planning stages and it could be some time before the idea becomes reality.

    “Realistically a few years. We have a lot of steps to still put in place. But we’re working really hard to make that happen.”

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