The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $25 million grant to replace the 60-year-old Whatcom Chief ferry with a new and improved electric-hybrid ferry.
U.S. Representatives Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene helped secure the grant.
The money comes at the right time, U.S. Representative Rick Larsen tells KIRO Newsradio, as the Whatcom Chief is the biggest polluter in Whatcom County. In an effort to promote a cleaner environment, the hybrid ferry will be a much-needed improvement.
The overall cost for the new ferry and adding a new shoreside infrastructure will cost over $60 million and, as a result, will lower emissions. The extra funds will come from the state to make up the difference.
Larsen says Lummi Island’s new ferry will probably fit anywhere between 15 to 25 cars and will more than likely come with a flatbed. However, it will come with an electric-hybrid diesel engine which will allow it to run and idle on electricity in between stops which will help green up the transportation system.
Larsen says he hopes to be there when the new ferry is unveiled in 2027.
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Author: Micki Gamez