Plan revived for a fleet of high-speed ferries for Bay Area disaster recovery

Published 22 February 2006

California legislators want the Bay Area Council to help revive the idea of a high-speed commuter ferry network to help deal with disasters, the business-sponsored public policy group said. According to Jim Wunderman, the president and chief executive of the Bay Area Council, the group has formed a task force to respond to the legislators’ idea by 15 April with information on what infrastructure, such as ships and terminals, legislative changes, and money would be needed to create a regional network. Wunderman said that State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata wants the Bay Area Council to evaluate and provide recommendations to make ferries on the San Francisco Bay a primary disaster recovery service.

The plan would reinstate a regional high-speed ferry network on the bay which would be available for recovery efforts after a disaster as well as to alleviate traffic on a day-to-day basis. Eight years ago a state bill was approved that conceived a comprehensive water transit system which would ring the Bay and be aimed at improving daily traffic and providing a flexible disaster recovery transportation system. The Water Transit Authority has not been given the funds, the authority, or the mandate to establish this system and the Bay Area remains vulnerable. Founded in 1845, the Bay Area Council includes top executives of more than 275 of the region’s largest employers.

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