Washington has a system of state highways, called State Routes, as well as an extensive ferry system which is the largest in the nation and the third largest in the world. There are 140 public airfields in Washington, including 16 state airports owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation. Boeing Field in Seattle is one of the busiest primary non-hub airports in the US. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac) is the other major airport of greater Seattle. The unique geography of Washington creates exceptional transportation challenges.
There are extensive waterways in the midst of Washington's largest cites, including Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma and Olympia. The state highways incorporate an extensive network of bridges and the largest ferry system in the United States to serve transportation needs in the Puget Sound area. Washington's marine highway constitutes a fleet of twenty-eight ferries that navigate Puget Sound and its inland waterways to 20 different ports of call, completing close to 147,000 sailings each year. Washington is home to four of the five longest floating bridges in the world: the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge and Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge over Lake Washington, and the Hood Canal Bridge which connects the Olympic Peninsula and Kitsap Peninsula.
The Cascade Mountain Range also provides unique transportation challenges. Washington operates and maintains roads over seven major mountain passes and eight minor passes. During winter months some of these passes are plowed, sanded, and kept safe with avalanche control. Not all are able to stay open through the winter. The North Cascades Highway, State Route 20, closes every year. This is because the extraordinary amount of snowfall and frequency of avalanches in the area of Washington Pass make it unsafe in the winter months.
Washington was rated the best state (amongst fifty U.S. states) in the 2011 American State Litter Scorecard, for overall effectiveness and quality of its public space cleanliness from state and related litter/debris removal efforts, unseating Vermont, the previous topmost winner.
Washington is crossed by a number of freight railroads, and Amtrak's passenger Cascade route between Eugene, OR and Vancouver, BC is the eighth busiest Amtrak service in the USA and one of the few profitable routes in the system. Public transportation has generally lagged, although the much-delayed link light rail system in the greater Seattle region opened its first line in 2002. Residents of Vancouver have resisted proposals to extend Portland's mass transit system into Washington.
Read more about this topic: Washington (state)