TxDOT Puts New ‘Green’ Ferry into Maritime Service

The Texas Department of Transportation recently put its newest maritime ferry into service on the Galveston-to-Port Bolivar route; naming the new vessel after a pioneering figure in Texas transportation infrastructure: Esperanza “Hope” Andrade.

[Above photo by TxDOT]

Andrade – a 74-year-old businesswoman from San Antonio – served as the very first female chair of the Texas Transportation Commission and was the first Latina woman to serve as secretary of state for Texas, under then-Governor Rick Perry (R), TxDOT noted in a statement.

Esperanza “Hope” Andrade

The new $33 million vessel, which measures 293 feet long, is one of seven in the Galveston ferry fleet and the newest addition in over a decade; a fleet where all but one of the vessels is at least 25 years old, with the oldest in service since 1977.

Each ferry boat has the capacity to carry 70 passenger vehicles or eight tractor-trailers, in addition to pedestrians and cyclists, with passengers able to access a viewing deck during the approximately 18-minute voyage between Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula.

The new ferry also features “cleaner” propulsion technology, marrying together a diesel-electric transmission and lithium-ion battery to reduce diesel engine emissions while improving fuel-efficiency.

Other state departments of transportation are also involved in efforts to deploy ferries equipped with cleaner propulsion systems.

For example, in May 2022, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities collaborated on a low emission ferry research project. The agency said at the time that alternative fuel powered, low emission, and electric ferries could be a “game-changer” for Alaska’s Marine Highway System as it starts replacing aging ferry vessels in upcoming years.

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