Friday, June 20, 2014

$123 Million Awarded for Ferry Services, Boats and Terminal Improvements

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Department of Transportation has announced the award and distribution of about $123.5 million for passenger ferry projects and ferry operators throughout the United States, including Washington state and California.

The funding, which was announced June 2, is expected to support existing ferry service on many US waterways, plus establish new ferry service where it’s needed and help repair and modernize ferry boats, terminals and related facilities.

In Washington, the State Dept. of Transportation has been awarded almost $7 million for two separate projects. First, $4.7 million is earmarked for a project to replace an aging seawall at a ferry terminal in Mukilteo with a new facility nearby. Also, $2.26 million goes toward the stabilization of an aging seawall at the ferry terminal in Edmonds.

Additionally, another $3 million is earmarked for the King County Dept. of Transportation to replace an aging ferry terminal at Colman Dock in downtown Seattle.

“Passenger ferries play an important 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,” US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a news release announcing the grants.

Also among the projects allotted funding were three in California: the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District received $6 million to refurbish the M/V Sonoma ferry boat, which is part of the Golden Gate Ferry fleet, the largest public ferry service on the San Francisco Bay.

Additionally, the San Francisco Water Emergency Authority is to receive $3 million to build a new maintenance facility, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been allotted $336,600 to buy three vessels for its “WaterBus” passenger ferry service in the Marina Del Rey community.

The DOT’s ferry funds are administered separately through the Federal Transit Administration’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program, which is providing $60 million in competitive funds for 26 projects in 13 states and Puerto Rico; and the Federal Highway Administration’s Ferry Boat Formula Program, which is providing $63.5 million to 114 operators in 37 states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

“These projects help provide more travel choices,” Federal Highway Deputy Administrator Gregory Nadeau said. “Ferry service represents a key transportation link.”