In early March, San Francisco Bay Area voters agreed to come up with $26 million annually to fund the construction of eight new commuter ferries and the expansion of downtown San Francisco’s ferry terminal. Regional Measure 2 (RM2), a $3 billion transportation spending plan, was passed on March 2 and includes funding for land-based transportation programs.
The eight vessels will be 149-passenger/25-knot and 350-passenger/35-knot catamarans.
The money will be used to purchase additional ferries for service between San Francisco and Oakland/Alameda and will increase the frequency of service for the Vallejo route. Some of the money will also be used to expand the San Francisco Downtown Ferry Terminal.
“We are delighted that ferries are part of the biggest transportation investment that this region has made in over a decade,” said Charlene Johnson, president of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority (WTA).
The passage of RM2 is part of a larger plan by the WTA to expand the Bay Area’s ferry system. The full plan calls for a total of 31 new ferries, seven new routes, more convenient landside connections, and eight new terminals.
To secure funding for the balance of the expansion plan, WTA is working with San Mateo and Contra Costa counties on sales tax renewals that are expected to be announced in November.
WTA is also working with other ferry systems to increase the federal Ferry Boat Discretionary Fund Program.
The U.S. Senate has approved an amendment to increase the fund from $38 million to $120 million for fiscal years 2004-2009 as part of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill. —Ken Hocke