FTA Providing $45.3M in Passenger Ferry Grants

The Federal Transit Administration recently awarded $45.3 million in fiscal year 2021 grants to passenger ferry projects in 11 states and territories – funding that flows from the agency’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program to help buy, repair, and modernize ferryboats and terminals.

[Above photo by the Virginia DOT]

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority – a division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation since 2009 – is one of the state agencies receiving a grant from the FTA in this round of ferry program funding. It is getting $3.93 million to upgrade its passenger ferries that serve the Logan Airport/East Boston communities.

Photo by VDOT

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation – formerly a section within the Virginia Department of Transportation but now its own separate agency – is getting a $2.09 million grant to modernize the current Jamestown Terminal transfer bridge lifting system. That project supports the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry, which provides vehicle and passenger transport service across the James River connecting two portions of Virginia State Route 31.

FTA noted that, under the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law November 2021, its Passenger Ferry Grant Program would continue to receive $30 million annually.

Photo via the FTA

The law also established two new grant programs.

The new $2 billion Ferry Service for Rural Communities program will support ferry operations in rural areas of the United States, while the new $500 million Electric/Low-Emission Ferry pilot program seeks to spur the transition of passenger ferry propulsion systems to low- or zero-emission technologies.

“Passenger ferries are a critical form of public transportation in the United States, allowing commuters and others to get to work, school and medical appointments,” noted FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez in a statement.

“Funding through the Passenger Ferry grant program ensures this infrastructure remains safe and dependable for people all over the country,” she said.

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