McEntire pleased with funding and language in transportation budget related to Puget Island – Oregon Ferry operation

The Washington State Legislature approved a final 2021-23 transportation budget proposal before adjourning the 2021 session. The $11.8 billion biennial budget funds infrastructure projects across the state, including maintenance and preservation of current transportation systems, the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Washington State Patrol, and the Washington State Ferries system.

Included in the budget was an additional $280,000 for the Wahkiakum ferry run.

Rep. Joel McEntire, R-Cathlamet, says the funding is a benefit to the region.

“The government shutdowns and more fuel efficient vehicles have had a negative impact on transportation funds. I am grateful to the transportation leaders in the Legislature for the additional funding to ensure we are able to maintain and operate this ferry route. The citizens of Puget Island and Southwest Washington know how important this ferry is to our region. The ferries are an extension of our highway system and this is an important connection for our region to Westport, Oregon.”

McEntire was also pleased with the study language related to Wahkiakum Ferry included in the transportation budget.

“I appreciate the decision to take a closer look at this ferry route and whether the state should be covering more of the costs. Given the landscape of the area, we don't have a lot of options, so the importance of this to Puget Island and our region is essential,” said McEntire.

The budget includes a study to be conducted by the Washington State Department of Transportation to look at the agreement with Wahkiakum County on future state reimbursement for the ferry operation and maintenance, as well as the benefit of the route to both Washington and Oregon. The department must report back to the Office of Financial Management and the legislative transportation committees by Oct. 1, 2021.

The transportation budget has been delivered to the governor, but he has not signed it into law yet.

The Legislature adjourned on Sunday, April 25.


Washington State House Republican Communications