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‘Game changer’ $15 million Port Orchard breakwater project kicks off

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(The Center Square) – Among the projects funded by the $104 billion federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in Washington state is a replacement breakwater for the Port Orchard Marina, which begins construction this month.

Although the $9.4 million federal funding for the $15 million project represents a fraction of the total spending, Gov. Jay Inslee referred to it at a Thursday press conference as a “game changer” due to the role the breakwater plays in local transportation, public safety, and economy activity. It’s expected to generate a net benefit to the region of $185 million.

The press conference included U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Suquamish Tribal Council Chairman Leonard Forsman, Port of Bremerton CEO Jim Rothlin, and Washington congressional representatives Derek Kilmer, Maria Cantwell, and Patty Murray. The Washington congressional representatives were noted at the press conference for their work to secure the funding.

“This breakwater is a lifeline for marina vessels,” Inslee said. “For 50 years, this breakwater has been a key element of port infrastructure.”

Built in 1973, the breakwater is 12 feet thick and 1,500 linear foot long, and protects vessels moored at the marina that includes Kitsap Transit’s foot ferries, commercial and recreational boaters. It also protects the only saltwater fueling station within a 16-nautical-mile radius.

The grant was one of 162 announced last week as a part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. At the press conference, Buttigieg said the grant would not have been possible with its passage. The state contributed $2 million to the project in its transportation budget to install electrical charging stations for future electric ferries.

“It’s a message that…Kitsap Transit is not just treading water,” Inslee said.

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