The Biden Administration is continuing funding to improve the nation’s maritime networks and infrastructure, with the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) making nearly $300 million in grants to improve and expand ferry services across the country.
The funding will also help to accelerate the transition to zero-emission ferries and technology.
The funding is made available through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The nearly $300 million will be offered through three competitive grant programs that “boost access to rural ferry service, bolster existing and new urban service, and lower emissions across all services by speeding adoption of zero emission ferry technologies,” according to the FTA.
The three grant programs, available through a combined Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), include:
- FTA’s Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program, a new program that provides competitive funding to states to ensure basic essential ferry service is provided to rural areas. For Fiscal Year 2022, $209 million is available.
- FTA’s Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry Pilot Program, a new program that provides competitive funding for electric or low-emitting ferries and associated infrastructure that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using alternative fuels or on-board energy storage systems. For Fiscal Year 2022, $49 million is available.
- FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program, which funds capital projects that support existing passenger ferry service, establish new ferry service, and repair and modernize ferry boats, terminals, and related facilities and equipment in urbanized areas. For Fiscal Year 2022, $36.5 million is available and of that, $3.25 million is set aside to support low or zero-emission ferries.
“This record amount of funding made possible by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help provide more reliable and efficient travel for those who commute by ferry,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “Today’s announcement will help improve people’s daily lives, especially in rural communities where ferry service has been hard to come by.”
The latest grant funding builds on the historic level of funding for marine-related projects made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This includes nearly $40 million in grants made available to the America’s Marine Highway Program, a record for the program. The U.S. Maritime Administration has also appropriated $684.3 million in discretionary grants to the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP)—by far the most annual funding in the history of the program—including $450 million initially available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and another $234.3 million added as a result of the FY 2022 Appropriations Act.
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