Exciting News for Regional Water Transit Service

Efforts to grow regional water transit service, a top policy priority for the Bay Area Council, got a big boost Thursday (April 7) when the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transit Authority (WETA) unanimously approved an agreement for expanding ferry operations in Alameda. Under the agreement, WETA will partner with the City of Alameda to develop the expansion Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal to meet future demand. Alameda Point Partners would build the terminal as part of a mixed-use development that would be served by the expanded ferry service. The agreement came during a packed-house meeting in Alameda where residents and others offered input about water transit expansion.

Equally exciting was approval by the WETA Board, on which Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman serves as vice chair, of a $54.7 million contract to build a new Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility that will serve as the future home of WETA’s central San Francisco Bay Ferry fleet. Construction of the facility is a key step in realizing WETA’s larger vision of expanding ferry service region-wide to provide an important transportation alternative for commuters bedeviled by clogged highways and overcrowded buses and trains. The facility will also include an Operations Control Center for service dispatch and Emergency Operations Center for emergency response coordination.

“WETA is developing both short-and long-term plans to address the increased need for ferry service, while simultaneously ensuring that we have the proper infrastructure in place to care for our assets and serve a greater number of Bay Area residents in the coming years,” said WETA Executive Director Nina Rannells in a press release announcing the decisions. “We are pleased to engage in these partnerships with the City of Alameda as well as the private sector to address our fleet and infrastructure needs for the future.”

Expanding regional water transit service is a top goal of the Council under the leadership of Transportation Committee Co-Chairs Rosemary Turner of UPS and Jeffrey Heller of Heller Manus. To engage in the Council’s water transit policy work, please contact Policy Manager Emily Loper.

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