Washington state, Alaska, New York and New Jersey have gained a windfall in fiscal 2022 federal funding for ferry projects.
The Federal Highway Administration announced Aug. 5 $172.2 million in formula funding under the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to 35 states and 3 territories to improve ferry service.
“Many Americans rely on ferry service as a primary means of travel, making it a critical connection to jobs, healthcare, and other daily needs,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The funding we are announcing today will continue and enhance ferry service for communities across the country.”
The Infrastructure law provides $912 million in formula funding over five years through FHWA’s Ferry Boat Program, more than doubling the amount provided under the 2015 FAST Act. The law expands eligibility that can include ferry maintenance facilities and the purchase of transit vehicles such as buses and shuttles used exclusively to transport passengers. The funding can also be used for capital improvements to existing ferry operations.
The program supports terminal and vessel projects that provide critical access to areas that lack other means of transportation where high passenger demand already exists. Funding is distributed to state transportation agencies based on a formula contained in law, and then allocated to individual ferry boat operators based on eligibility.
Washington received $42.4 million, Alaska $36.4 million, New York $17.8 million, New Jersey $10.1 million and California $10.2 million.
“This welcome increase allows the Alaska Dept. of Transportation and Public Facilities to move forward with important vessel and shoreside priorities,” says a spokesperson.
The agency will use funds for maintenance, repair and upgrades at facilities in the communities of Angoon, Chenega, Cordova, Pelican, and Juneau and to add new terminals at Ketchikan’s South Tongass location and Juneau’s Cascade Point.
“The M/V Matanuska has an important Dead End Corridors project on the horizon to keep the vessel operational under US Coast Guard requirements,” the spokesperson said. “Our M/V Tazlina needs crew quarters constructed to allow it to run some of our longer routes. And of course, we have preservation work needed for all Alaska Marine Highway System vessels.”