BI looks to support electrification of ferry terminal

Bainbridge Island city manager Blair King is looking to sign a letter of support for Washington State Ferries to electrify five terminals, including the one on BI.

The City Council is expected to give the OK for King to do that at its meeting March 12 at City Hall and on Zoom at 6 p.m.

WSF is applying for $122 million in federal funds from the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant Program. That would allow for four routes in the Seattle Metro area to be fully electrified. WSF has asked for BI’s support. The improvements in BI and Seattle would be done by 2027, followed by Clinton and Kingston by 2028, and Bremerton by 2029.

During project construction, roadside work along Highway 305 from Murden Cove substation to the ferry dock will lead to some delays and rerouting.

King’s letter says WSF is the largest system of its kind in the nation, carrying over 25 million people a year on 10 routes, meaning electrification will lead to substantial emission reductions. It says WSF’s conversion to electric has the potential to reduce fuel usage by up to 20%. Combined with electrification at terminals, that increases to up to 95% reduction in fuel consumption, the letter states.

A WSF fact sheet says the project will allow future hybridelectric vessels to operate their engines fully on batteries without having to run their diesel-electric generators, thereby facilitating Greenhouse Gas emission reductions. The total cost of implementing WSF’s Electrification Plan is $4 billion.

Along with GHG reduction, other benefits include: lowering the cancer risk caused by diesel particulate matter; and reduction of safety risks, maintenance costs and service delays due to equipment breakdowns.

The council also will look Tuesday at an update on the Groundwater Management Plan, which is expected to cost $475,000. The three phases of work include: Research, document existing conditions; modeling, processing data and adopting strategies; and planning, actions to address issues. Information includes sea level rise, recharge stress and pumping stress.

Water pumping stress includes growth in the city water system at Winslow and Kitsap Public Utility District growth in the north and south portions of BI. Well increases for residential and possible cap on water rights also are factored in the scenarios.

On the consent agenda is a contract to demolish the old police station at 625 Winslow Way East at a cost of over $258,000. It will also update building and fire code, along with consider spending $50,000 to create a community plan for visual, performing and literary arts.

The council will receive a presentation by U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, and will have proclamations for “Women’s History” and “Brain Injury Awareness” month.

King will give his report, which will include acknowledging that for the ninth year BI received an award for excellence in financial reporting.

The council will determine selection panel members to recommend appointments to the planning commission and ethics board, and look at a city law related to city advisory groups. It will also discuss the city’s paper of record, which has been the Bainbridge Island Review.

Deputy mayor Jon Quitslund has asked that documents pertaining to updates on the Winslow Subarea and Comprehensive plans be placed on a future council agenda.

Some on Bainbridge Island would like to preserve the clock tower on the old police station to keep it from being razed.

Some on Bainbridge Island would like to preserve the clock tower on the old police station to keep it from being razed.