Tacoma looks to ferries for I-5 congestion relief

TACOMA, Wash. - The City of Tacoma, The Port of Tacoma, and Pierce Transit are looking into bringing passenger ferries to Tacoma.

A new study released today shows that the idea of bringing the boats to the city is possible.

The study looked into operating costs, routes and landing sites, and what passengers might pay to ride the boats.

The hope is these boats would help alleviate congestion along I-5 during rush hours.

“People should not be relegated to spending four hours in their car regularly away from their families.  It’s not a way to live,” said Tacoma City Council Member Ryan Mello.

Mello is pushing for the boats to come to his city.

There are some hurdles the project still needs to get over; a big one is the cost.

Mello says the total cost of the project is about $40 million. He says It would cost about $2 million a year to operate.

The boats would be passenger ferries. The estimated time it would take for the trip between Tacoma and Seattle would be under an hour. Fares would cost passengers $11 for a one-way ride.

Mello says there is still a lot to do, but he believes the effort is well worth it.

“The region has seen this before, and I’m confident they’re going to see it again,” he said.

Mello says if everything goes to plan, his hope is these boats would be operating within the next five years.