US awards $59 million for passenger ferry improvements


The following is the text of a news release from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA):

(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration has announced the award of approximately $59 million for passenger ferry projects and ferry operators throughout the United States. The funds will support existing ferry service on many of the nation’s waterways, and help to repair and modernize ferry boats, terminals, and related facilities that thousands of residents in these communities depend on.

“Passenger ferries play a unique and critical role in our nation’s transportation network by connecting people with the jobs and services they need to reach across the river, the bay, or other local waterway,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Investing in ferry boat services ensures hard-working families, who might otherwise be cut off, continue to have access to opportunities that lead to success.”

The money, which is awarded through FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program, will provide grants to 18 projects in 10 states. The projects will receive a combination of fiscal year 2015 and 2016 Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Grants program funds.

“Waterways help to define and shape the economies of many of our cities and tribal communities, and in these places, ferry service is an essential form of transportation,” said FTA Senior Advisor Carolyn Flowers. “We must bring our existing ferry systems and facilities into a state of good repair, and support new ferry service where there’s a clear need.”

Examples of projects funded by FTA’s passenger ferry awards include:

• The Chatham Area Transit Authority, in Chatham, Ga., will receive $713,280 to rehabilitate three vessels to better ensure safe and reliable service for passengers.

• The Regional Transit Authority in New Orleans, La., will receive $5 million to replace its 90-year-old ferry terminal, located between Louisiana’s Central Business District and the historic French Quarter, to increase the efficiency of the transportation system and support ongoing development efforts.

• The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority will receive $4 million to expand capacity at its main ferry terminal from four to six berths, to provide more capacity and support existing and future planned water services.

• The Delaware River and Bay Authority will receive $6 million to replace four ferry engines that will improve service reliability and improve maintenance capabilities for its Cape May-Lewes Ferry service, which moves customers between eastern Delaware and southern New Jersey.

The Federal Transit Administration reviewed 21 project applications from 10 states for the Passenger Ferry Grant Program, requesting $98.1 million in federal funds indicating significant demand to fund ferry capital projects.

Click here to view the complete list of fund recipients.

By Professional Mariner Staff