U.S. Department of Transportation Awards $32.8 Million to Selected Projects Nationwide to Improve Passenger Ferry Service

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8 August 2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced approximately $32.8 million in project selections to improve the safety and reliability of America’s passenger ferries and enhance mobility for ferry users across the United States. A total of nine projects in nine states will receive funding from FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program.

“These federal grants invest in marine infrastructure to improve mobility and enhance safety for passenger ferry services across our nation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

FTA Passenger Ferry Grant Program funds projects to purchase, replace or rehabilitate passenger ferries, terminals, and related infrastructure and equipment. Learn more about the program in our brief video.

“America’s waterways are a priceless asset, and the Passenger Ferry Grant Program partners with local communities to leverage those assets to improve mobility for millions of Americans,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams at an event in Portland, Maine, where she announced a $3.4 million ferry grant to the Casco Bay Island Transit District.

Casco Bay Island Transit provides year-round ferry service between the islands of Casco Bay and Portland, Maine, transporting residents to services on the mainland and supporting the islands’ economies. The grant will help upgrade a ferry terminal built in 1988 that was designed to serve 500,000 passengers a year. Since then, passenger traffic has increased to 1.1 million passengers annually. The renovations will expand passenger queuing and boarding areas, improving safety and efficiency.

Among the other projects selected to receive funding:

  • Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLINK), serving the Quad Cities metropolitan area in Illinois and Iowa, will receive $1.2 million to construct a new ferry terminal at the Village of East Davenport that will enhance service for passengers.
  • The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will receive $5.9 million to upgrade passenger ferry slips at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ, to maintain safety and enhance service reliability for its passengers.
  • The Chatham Area Transit Authority in Savannah, Georgia will receive close to $1.3 million to acquire a new passenger ferry vessel to expand service and enhance service reliability for its passengers.

FTA received 20 proposals totaling approximately $99.3 million in funding requests from nine states. Project proposals were evaluated based on criteria outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. The selected projects will receive $30 million in the Fiscal Year 2019 funding and $2.8 million in prior-year funding.

Federal public transportation law (49 USC § 5307(h)), as amended by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, authorizes FTA’s competitive Passenger Ferry Grant Program through FY2020.