The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
(PORTLAND, Maine) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams on Thursday announced a $3.4 million grant to Casco Bay Island Transit to improve passenger ferry service in the Portland area. Williams was joined by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, at an event in Portland, along with representatives from the Maine Department of Transportation and Casco Bay Island Transit.
Funding is provided through FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program, which funds projects to purchase, replace or rehabilitate passenger ferries, terminals and related infrastructure and equipment.
“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 Chao.
“As the chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I understand how vital responsible investments in our nation’s transportation infrastructure are to our communities,” said Collins. “Maine’s ferry services are critical components of our state’s transportation system, connecting our beautiful islands to the mainland. I strongly advocated for this funding, and I want to thank Acting Administrator Williams for awarding this $3.4 million grant to Casco Bay Lines so that they can improve their terminal and infrastructure.”
“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 Williams.
Casco Bay Island Transit provides year-round ferry service between the islands of Casco Bay and Portland, 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.
The Casco Bay Island Transit project is one of nine projects selected to receive funding through FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program to improve the safety and reliability of America’s passenger ferries and enhance mobility for ferry users across the United States.
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 FY 2020.