Ferry operators across the nation to obtain $220M in federal grants to modernize fleets

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Biden administration will issue $220 million in grants to modernize the country’s ferry systems, officials announced Thursday.

The grant program will focus on expanding ferry service in rural communities, helping them acquire modern ferries, including electric boats, and upgrading shore infrastructure to support low-emission ferry service, officials said.

Twelve ferry operators in the territory of American Somoa and the states of California, Washington, Alaska, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina will receive grants, said Nuria Fernandez, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration.

The grants “will help transit agencies around the country buy and retrofit vessels, upgrade terminals and modernize equipment,” she said during a news conference at San Francisco’s Ferry Building.

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority and the Golden Gate Ferry will receive about $22 million to retrofit two of their existing ferry floats in the cities of Alameda and San Francisco and replace the ferry landing at Sausalito Ferry Terminal.

Nuria Fernandez, Federal Transit Administration administrator, right, speaks with Seamus Murphy, Executive Director of San Francisco Bay Ferry, while touring a San Francisco Bay Ferry in San Francisco, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)


The New York City Department of Transportation will receive nearly $7.5 million to build shoreside terminal infrastructure to enable rapid charging for vessels serving Governors Island, which is only accessible by ferry. The new charging system will reduce emissions, decrease maintenance costs and improve reliability for riders, officials said.

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