A total of US$384.4m in federal funding from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be used to expand and improve ferry services across the USA and accelerate the transition to zero-emission transportation. The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is awarding 23 grants to 11 states and also the US Virgin Islands.
Nearly US$100m of the national grants will go toward low- and no-emission ferries, to help decarbonize the transportation sector.
“With these grants, we are improving and expanding ferry service in the communities that rely on waterways the most – often in more rural, remote regions – connecting people to jobs, services and city centers while cutting climate pollution,” said Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
The funding, which has been made available through three FTA competitive grant programs, includes the Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry Pilot Program. This will deliver funding for electric or low-emission ferries and the required charging equipment and infrastructure. The program aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using alternative fuels or onboard energy storage systems.
In one such project, the Maine Department of Transportation will be granted US$28m to replace a 35-year-old ferry with a more sustainable hybrid-electric vessel. The new ferry will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while promoting environmental sustainability on the island of Islesboro in upper Penobscot Bay.
“Today’s announcement represents a record amount of support for transit ferries in our country,” said Nuria Fernandez, FTA Administrator. “And thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, for the first time ever we are able to provide competitive grant funds for passenger ferry service in rural areas and help ferry operators reduce their climate impact.”