Shipyards likely will submit new proposals to build four Washington state ferries after the state dropped its appeal of a court order that invalidated part of its selection process, according to a report in the Seattle Times
. Last February, the state decided that Todd Shipyards
of Seattle was the only company financially qualified to build the new ferries. Now, J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding of Tacoma will be allowed to submit a technical proposal to build the new ferries, a $284 million project. It would join Todd, and perhaps another, in competing to build the ferries.
The original plans called for four 130-car ferries, now planners are considering 144-car ferries to accommodate a growing population. The change would have to be approved by the Legislature. The ferry system could face another blow if voters approve Initiative 912 on the November ballot. It would repeal the 9.5-cent gas-tax increase approved by the Legislature this year. If it passes, money for one new state ferry would evaporate.
The state had hoped that construction could begin in 2006 on the new ferries, with the first boat ready for service in 2008. (Source: The Seattle Times