Hawaii Superferry and Austal USA last
month signed an agreement that could result in new passenger-vehicle catamarans for Hawaiian waters to create a commercial high-speed interisland ferry service. Hawaii Superferry plans
to use Austal USA-built, high-speed, RoRo vessels
to create "Hawaii's Interisland Highway," with catamarans carrying
passengers, vehicles and freight between Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, beginning in 2006. Under the agreement, Hawaii Superferry plans to purchase two 340-ft. catamaran ferries — able to carry 900 passengers and 280 vehicles, including trucks and buses — for delivery during 2006-2008
"For many years, I have envisioned 'a marine highway' for our islands, so I am pleased with the progress that Hawaii Superferry has made in creating an interisland ferry system that will serve Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island," said Senator Daniel K. Inouye, who has secured more than $25 million in federal funds for the development of ferry infrastructure. Final funding for the project is pending.