Biden administration is committing $220 million to improve passenger ferry service across the country Ship’s crew

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the allocation of $220 million from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill to support and modernize passenger ferry service in rural and urban communities across the United States.

With approximately three million ferry passengers a month, these grants will play an important role in improving transportation across the country. In particular, previous grants have successfully improved ferry service in various regions including Alaska, Maine, Georgia and California.

“For many Americans, ferries are the best way to get to work, school or a hospital, especially in Alaskan island and Native American villages,” said Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “Everyone should have access to affordable, reliable transportation, and thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re taking an important step to improve ferry service across the country.”

The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) includes two funding programs: the Passenger Ferry Program and the Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program. The Passenger Ferry Program focuses on capital projects that involve the purchase, replacement, or modernization of passenger ferries, terminals, and related equipment. A total of US$50.1 million is available in fiscal year (FY) 2023, with US$5 million earmarked specifically for low- or zero-emission ferries and associated facilities or equipment.

On the other hand, the Rural Community Ferry Services program is a competitive grant initiative created by the bipartisan Infrastructure Act. This program ensures essential ferry service in rural communities by providing capital, planning and operational support. A significant amount of US$ 170 million is available for this purpose in the 2023 financial year.

FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez highlighted the critical role that passenger ferries play in providing cost-effective travel in the United States, while also acknowledging the existing backlog of state-of-the-art repair and safety investments for these services.

“This funding will modernize and expand transportation systems, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote equity by making mass transit accessible to more people while preserving and creating good-paying jobs,” Fernandez said.

Earlier this year, the FTA announced the selection of projects for the Ferry Grant programs totaling $384.4 million. Nearly $100 million of that amount went towards the electric or low-emission ferry pilot program, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.

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