The Federal Transit Administration has issued a notice of funding opportunity or NOFO that makes $220 million available to support or modernize passenger ferry service in rural and urban communities nationwide.
[Above photo by WSDOT]
FTA said that that two grant programs are included in NOFO – the Passenger Ferry Program and the Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program – with all of that funding coming from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA, enacted November 2021
The Passenger Ferry Program supports capital projects to buy, replace, or modernize passenger ferries, terminals, and related equipment. For fiscal year 2023, $50.1 million is available, of which $5 million is set aside specifically for low- or zero-emission ferries and related facilities/equipment.
Concurrently, the Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program is making $170 million available in FY 2023 funds to support capital, planning, and operating assistance to support or expand ferry services in rural areas.
[Editor’s note: Many state departments of transportation operate a wide variety of ferry programs across the country, including in what might be considered unlikely places, such as Kentucky.]
“Passenger ferries provide critical and cost-effective travel for people throughout the United States, but they currently face a backlog of state of good repair and safety investments,” noted FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez in a statement.
“This funding will modernize and expand transit systems, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and advance equity by making transit available to more people, while maintaining and creating good-paying jobs,” she added.
In February, several state DOTs received grant awards from FTA as part of $384 million in funds also allocated by the IIJA for expanding and improving the nation’s ferry service nationwide as well as accelerate the transition to zero-emission propulsion systems.
In total, FTA awarded 23 grants across 11 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands to fund a wide variety of projects, including the replacement of old vessels, fleet expansions, and the construction of new terminals and docks.
Nearly $100 million of the national grants will go toward low- and no-emission ferries, helping decrease greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, the agency said.