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State OK's ferry trips to Seattle next week

"Mosquito Fleet has cleared its final bureaucratic hurdle before starting a demonstration commuter passenger-ferry run to Seattle next week.The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission has issued a permit for the service, according to Michael Bennett, president of Mosquito Fleet. It's the first permit awarded and actually used for North Puget Sound service by a commercial operator for over 50 years, he said.Mosquito Fleet is based in Everett and offers whale watching cruises. Years ago under different ownership it experimented with passenger ferry service, but never found the financing to proceed. Last year, the company won the state contact to provide temporary passenger ferry service between Mukilteo and Clinton during ferry dock wingwall construction in December and early January.The new service starting Monday will leave Everett in the morning and make stops at Clinton and Edmonds on the way to Bell Harbor in Seattle.The service will continue through Friday, Feb. 23. Round-trip cost from Clinton is $16, or $10 one-way. The boat will depart Clinton daily at 6:50 a.m. and arrive back at the dock at 6:10 p.m. The boat, now called the Commuter Express, is a high-speed 78-foot catamaran with a capacity of 150 passengers. Call 425-252-6800 for information. "

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