February 26, 2009

Golden Gate Ferry Vessel Refurbishment Receives $9.4 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

On February 25, 2009, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Oakland, CA, approved the recommendation of the MTC Programming and Allocations Committee for the distribution of approximately $490 million coming to the San Francisco Bay Area as part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As part of the ARRA funding, the Golden Gate Ferry (GFF) division of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) will receive $9,426,469 to refurbish one of the two recently purchased Washington State Ferry (WSF) vessels, the M.V. Chinook. Both of the WSF vessels require refurbishment to provide “like new” vessels for use on the Larkspur/San Francisco at an estimated cost of approximately $9.4 million per vessel. The second vessel, M.V. Snohomish, will be refurbished using 20% District funds and 80% through other grant sources.

The vessel refurbishments will include:

  • Tier 2-20 engines which exceed current California Air Resources Board requirements
  • Replacement of reduction gears, main shafting, bearings, engine controls and monitoring panels, electrical generator sets and other miscellaneous pumps and controllers
  • Refurbishment of four water jets and updated navigation equipment
  • Complete repainting of the vessel, along with interior renovations including: new ADA accessible restrooms; snack bar, seating and tables; bicycle racks; deck coverings
  • Modifications to accommodate additional inside seating capacity and new embarkation doors for passengers at the upper deck
  • Increased passenger capacity from 350 to a minimum of 450

The refurbishment timeline for the M.V. Chinook meets the requirements set forth by MTC which requires a contract award by November 30, 2009.

  • Issue Request for Proposals for engineering/design/specifications for refurbishment
  March 2009
  • Receive proposals from design firms
  April 2009
  • Award contract for engineering/design/specifications
  May 2009
  • Complete engineering/design/specifications
  August 2009
  • Issue Request for Bids to shipyards
  September 2009
  • Receive proposals from shipyards
  October 2009
  • Award contract
  November 2009
  • Begin refurbishment
  November 2009
  • Complete refurbishment and deliver vessel
  July 2010


In January 2009, GGF finalized the purchase of two WSF vessels at a cost of $2 million each (one new vessel would cost about $18 million). They were built in the late 1990s, operated for approximately three years and have been inactive since September 2003. The M.V. Snohomish is schedule to arrive in April 2009. To provide customers continuity with high speed service during the re-powering of the M.V. Del Norte, GGF will place the not-yet-refurbished M.V. Snohomish into service as a substitute for the M.V. Del Norte. In spring 2010, M.V. Snohomish will begin the refurbishment process and be completed in late 2010.