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Marina 1 Replacement Project: Good News and Bad News

The project is in the pipeline for funding, but the state approved only $720,000 of an expected $2.5 million.

imageThe Santa Barbara Waterfront Department has plans to replace the 30-year-old Marina 1’s concrete main walkway, the gangway and a number of docking fingers. (Brian Slagle / Santa Barbara Waterfront Department photo)

[Editor’s note: This article is republished with permission from the city of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department.]

When it comes to financing the Marina 1 Replacement Project, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that the state Department of Boating and Waterways has agreed to fund the first three phases of the project, a $6 million commitment.

The bad news is that the state, instead of funding an expected $2.5 million first installment to replace the gangway, main walkway and associated utilities, plus “O,” “P” and “N” fingers, approved only $720,000. Why? Because the Boating and Waterways Department, which accrues funds through vessel registration fees, off-road gas taxes and repayment of existing loans, simply doesn’t have the money available.

Because the first installment is significantly less than what’s needed, the staff is evaluating several options, including:

» Delaying the start of the Marina 1 project for one year.

» Commencing landside utility upgrades this fall and winter and proceeding with the remainder of the first phase next year.

» Investigating other possible state loans through the Maritime Infrastructure Bank and/or the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, in an effort to keep the first phase on schedule.

Back to the good news. DBW will not accept new public loan applications until marina projects that are already in the pipeline can be funded, including efforts in Santa Barbara, Dana Point, Santa Cruz, Long Beach and San Francisco. Local boaters can breathe a sigh of relief. Even while alternate initial funding options are explored, Santa Barbara’s loan package was the final one approved before DBW temporarily stopped taking new applications.

The staff will continue to apprise boaters of developments regarding the Marina 1 reconstruction project, either through Docklines or, as necessary, meetings of the Harbor Commission’s Marina 1 Replacement Project Committee.

Brian Slagle is an administrative analyst with the city of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department.

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