It might surprise even transportation fans to learn that DOT's Federal Highway Administration is home to a program supporting ferry service in America. But it's true, and today the FHWA Ferry Boat Program announced $30.9 million in funding to improve ferry service in 37 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Ferry boats offer a valuable option for people living near waterways across the nation traveling to jobs, schools, medical services, grocery stores, and other important destinations. As FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez said, "Ferry service represents a key transportation link for certain communities--much like highways and bridges do in other areas."
And DOT is happy to help improve this service for those who depend on it. The funds announced today will support construction and rehabilitation of publicly owned or operated ferry boats and the terminal facilities that serve them. And because today's announcement includes projects in Maine and Florida as well as Alaska, Hawaii, and California, the awards really cover the nation from north to south and east to west.
For example, the Puerto Rico Maritime Transport Authority is being awarded $216,514. Transporte Marítimo (ATM) provides ferry transportation for passengers and cargo to residents and visitors between the mainland and the islands of Vieques and Culebra. Last year, the authority transported more than a million passengers and 315,000 tons of cargo.
During the Ferry Boat Program's 20-year history, DOT has provided more than $500 million to improve America's ferry boats and terminals. The new transportation law, MAP-21, extended this important program. In fact, it provides funds for a second round of funding, expected later this year, that will bring the 2013 total to approximately $64 million.
Today's investments in ferry infrastructure--like the investments we've made in roads, rail, and transit--will increase mobility, strengthen economic competitiveness, and create jobs.
Safer, more reliable ferry service--that's just one more way that DOT keeps America moving.