Hawaii is one step closer to getting serious about an interisland ferry system again.

Senate Bill 2618, which would require the Department of Transportation to look into the feasibility of bringing back a ferry, cleared the House Transportation Committee on Wednesday.

Although the bill was passed unanimously, amendments were added that would also require the DOT to study traffic congestion at the county level and look into whether invasive species could pose a problem for the ferry.

Washington state’s ferry system  – which employs 1,800 people – is to be used as the DOT’s model, according to the bill.

Earlier this month, the Senate approved SB 2618. Next, the bill will face a hearing at the House Finance Committee.

The Superferry Alakai, shown at Pier 19, sailed between Maui and Oahu between 2007 and 2009.

The Superferry Alakai, shown at Pier 19, sailed between Maui and Oahu from 2007 to 2009.

Flickr: Bill Sodeman

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