Kitsap Transit awarded $17 million to upgrade aging facility

KITSAP COUNTY, Wash. — Kitsap Transit, transporting passengers through Kitsap Fast Ferries and its bus system, has long asked the government for a grant so that it can build a new facility and purchase new zero-emission buses.

Now, just as the Fourth of July holiday was celebrated across the state, the transit agency was awarded $17 million in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

Executive Director John Clauson said the money will be used to build a full-service maintenance facility and procure five double-decker routed battery electric buses.

“This new facility will add five additional bays in the north Kitsap area,” Clauson told KIRO Newsradio. “And not only will it add to the capacity, but will also allow us to work on increasing our fleet of zero-emission buses, for example.”

The grant will give Kitsap better working facilities to work on a battery-powered electric bus.

“As an example, for a lot of these electric buses, a number of their batteries are on the roof,” Clauson said. “So, being able to get up on scaffolding and be able to work there is going to be a huge advantage.”

The current Kitsap Transit facility was created in the 1940s, and has become increasingly overcrowded and is inadequately equipped to handle the evolving needs of Kitsap Transit’s expanding fleet, according to the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance.

Clauson said double-capacity electric buses will be a great addition to the fleet, which will, in turn, help increase the capacity on the route from Poulsbo to the Bainbridge Island Ferry dock.

“This is a big deal,” Rep. Derek Kilmer said in a prepared statement. “These investments in projects across Washington state will help move people and freight better. That’s important for our local economies, for quality of life and for helping community connectivity. Having the federal government provide this grant funding means we will see improvements without the cost being borne entirely by taxpayers in our neck of the woods. That’s a huge win for our region.”

“We are so excited,” Clauson added. “This project will not only save taxpayers millions of dollars in spent fuel, labor costs and vehicle miles traveled over the next three decades, but it will significantly cut agency emissions and reduce traffic congestion on some of our busiest roads.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded $1.3 million to the Makah Tribe.

Contributing: Micki Gamez, KIRO Newsradio

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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