A state lawmaker thinks Washington should look into starting a new ferry line between Olympia and Seattle as a way to avoid traffic jams on I-5.
State Sen. Sam Hunt, an Olympia Democrat, proposes Washington study the feasibility and potential costs of the route.
Hunt pre-filed a bill which would direct the state to dig into the idea of a passenger-only route, which could be fast-service or slow-service.
Hunt's office says a ferry could use existing docks at the Port of Olympia and could include stops in Steilacoom and Point Defiance, among other cities. Participating counties would share the costs.
“A compact, modern-day fleet of passenger ferries running up the Puget Sound could offer an attractive alternative to commuting on I-5, as well as encouraging tourism between the Seattle area and the South Puget Sound,” Hunt's office wrote in a document explaining the bill.
“That's a novel solution,” said Michael Altig, who lives in Vancouver and stopped at an I-5 rest area, Sunday. “I would certainly be thinking hard about it.”
Hunt's office says a ballot measure, similar to what was used in Kitsap County, could help determine if there is public support for the project in Thurston County.
The Washington legislative session starts Monday.