Biden-Harris Administration Announces Availability of $220 Million to Modernize Ferry Service and Better Connect Rural Communities

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

May 18, 2023 (press release) –

Thursday, May 18, 2023

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the availability of $220 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support or modernize passenger ferry service in rural and urban communities across the country. Across the country, there are approximately three million ferry riders each month. Past grants have helped transit authorities upgrade ferry service across the country, from Alaska to Maine, to Georgia and California.

"For many Americans, ferries are the best way get to work, go to school, or reach a hospital, particularly in island communities and Alaska Native villages," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "Everyone ought to have access to affordable, reliable transportation options, and thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are taking an important step to improve ferry service across the country."

Two grant programs are included in this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) the Passenger Ferry Program and the Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program.

The Passenger Ferry Program supports capital projects to buy, replace, or modernize passenger ferries, terminals, and related equipment. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, $50.1 million is available, of which $5 million is set aside specifically for low- or zero-emission ferries and related facilities/equipment.

The Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program is a competitive grant program created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which provides funding to ensure essential ferry service in rural communities. The funding supports capital, planning, and operating assistance to support or expand ferry services in rural areas. For FY 2023, $170 million is available.

"Passenger ferries provide critical and cost-effective travel for people throughout the United States, but they currently face a backlog of state of good repair and safety investments," said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. "This funding will modernize and expand transit systems, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and advance equity by making transit available to more people, while maintaining and creating good-paying jobs."

Earlier this year, FTA announced $384.4 million in project selections through its Ferry Grant Programs, with nearly $100 million in funding going toward its third Ferry Program, the Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry Pilot Program, which is designed to help decrease greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. See the full list of grants here.

Instructions for applying and eligibility information can be found on FTA’s website and in GRANTS.GOV (FTA-2023-007-TPM-PassFerry) and FTA-2023-008-TPM-Rural Ferry). Complete proposals must be submitted electronically through the GRANTS.GOV “APPLY” function by July 17, 2023.

This announcement is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $435 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good paying jobs and building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.

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