Hill International to Provide Program General Engineering Consultant Support for Washington State Ferries’ System Electrification Program

Hill International

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Hill International, Inc. announced it was recently selected by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to provide Program General Engineering Consultant (GEC) services for the electrification of the Washington State Ferries (WSF) system. The ambitious System Electrification Program (SEP) will begin the transition to an emission-free fleet of hybrid electric ferries, to reduce environmental impacts and lower energy costs. The SEP Program is focused on three key elements of the electrification system – building new hybrid electric vessels, converting selected existing diesel-burning vessels to hybrid electric, and electrifying the terminals.

Currently, WSF operates the largest ferry system in the United States, however, the fleet and its operation are also the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions of any state agency in Washington, burning 19 million gallons of diesel fuel to support 24 million passengers every year. To address this important issue, in 2022 Governor Jay Inslee included just over $1B for WSF in the State’s $17B transportation package, which marked the beginning of this 20-year program to reduce carbon emissions by 76% and significantly improve local air quality. The overall 2020 System Electrification Plan shows that it will cost a total of $3.98 billion to fund the program. Vessel electrification is estimated at $3.7 billion and terminal electrification is estimated at $280 million.

To support the SEP, Hill assembled an industry-leading and inclusive team of well-respected firms led by Program Executive Harry Jarnagan. Notably, Jarnagan helped deliver the multi-year, multi-billion-dollar Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement program, among other large-scale infrastructure programs. As part of our Program GEC contract, Jarnagan and the Hill Team will provide program management, design engineering management, program controls, cost engineering and control, schedule management, document management, risk management, contract management, quality management, communication management, and environmental and permitting support services for the SEP, among others.

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Hill First Vice President, Pacific Northwest Operations Manager Becky Blankenship said of the award: “Harry and our entire team bring the right skillset and the right mindset to realize the System Electrification Program’s goals safely, on time, and within budget. Hill’s Seattle office, along with our team partners, has a long history of helping to deliver transformative infrastructure programs in Washington State, and we will leverage the best practices and lessons learned from this work to support WSF.”

Senior Vice President, Western Region Manager Greg Heinz explained, “Forward-thinking clients like WSF know that emissions-free transport and infrastructure is on its way to becoming the national norm, and the SEP moves the entire system ahead of the curve when it comes to green transit options. We’re all excited to help them realize this vision as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.”

Hill Chief Executive Officer Raouf S. Ghali adds: “Bold, large-scale infrastructure programs are increasingly becoming the norm in the U.S. and around the world. Hill specializes in helping our clients realize the efficiencies inherent in these types of programs, as well as in minimizing the risks. I look forward to seeing our team in action on the SEP, and to adding their contributions to Hill’s ever-growing library of program management expertise.”

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