The following is a news release from the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT):
(AUGUSTA, Maine) — The Maine Department of Transportation has sent a notice of intent to award an $8.8 million contract for the construction of a new Maine State Ferry Service (MSFS) vessel to East Boothbay boatbuilder Washburn & Doughty. The company was one of five bidders — and the only Maine shipbuilder — that submitted a proposal.
“Washburn & Doughty has an excellent history and reputation of Maine craftsmanship,” said Gov. Paul LePage. “I am always pleased to see Maine taxpayer funding providing jobs to Maine workers through our investment in transportation infrastructure.”
The new 154-foot vehicular and passenger ferry was designed by Gilbert Associates Inc., a naval architecture and marine engineering firm in Braintree, Mass. Designed to be able to serve any of the MSFS island communities other than Matinicus, it will have three main deck lanes for a capacity of 23 cars or a mix of cars and trucks, as well as 250 passengers.
“We are thrilled to have a Maine boatyard with an impeccable history of quality as the successful bidder for the new ferry boat,” said David Bernhardt, commissioner of MaineDOT. “Washburn & Doughty built three of the ferry boats currently in operation for the Maine State Ferry Service, and we look forward to partnering with them for our first new boat in more than five years.”
Washburn & Doughty Associates was founded in East Boothbay in 1977 and specializes in the construction of steel and aluminum commercial vessels, including tugboats, commercial passenger vessels, fishing boats, barges, ferries and research vessels. In 1992-1993, Washburn & Doughty built three vessels — known as the “sister ships” — that are still in service for the Maine State Ferry Service today.
“We are honored to have been selected to construct the new ferry service vessel for the Maine State Ferry Service,” said Katie Doughty Maddox, vice president of sales and marketing at Washburn & Doughty Associates. “This contract will create jobs at our shipyard during its construction and we are proud to have our Maine workers building a vessel to serve Maine residents, businesses and visitors to our midcoast island communities.”
The Maine State Ferry Service, a division of the MaineDOT, serves the island communities of Vinalhaven, North Haven, Islesboro, Swans Island, Frenchboro and Matinicus. Maine law provides that operating expenses for the ferry service are paid one-half by residents of Maine through the Highway Fund Budget and one-half by user and other fees.
Capital costs for the ferry service — including the construction of ferry boats, maintenance and upgrade to facilities and improvements to supporting infrastructure — is fully funded through MaineDOT. The funding for the construction of the new ferry boat to be built by Washburn & Doughty will come from a combination of Maine bond funding and other local highway fund and federal dollars.