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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Availability of $316 Million to Modernize Ferry Service and Better Connect Rural Communities   

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the availability of $316 million to support and modernize passenger ferry service in communities across the country. Across the country, there are approximately three million ferry riders each month, utilizing these transit services to get to work, school, healthcare appointments, and more.  

“I have seen firsthand how, for many Americans in many different parts of the country, ferries are the best and sometimes only way to get where they need to go,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re pleased to make $316 million available to help communities modernize their ferry service so that Americans better, easier, more reliable options.”   

In addition to FTA’s longstanding Passenger Ferry Program, President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) established more federal support for ferry service, including for ferry systems transitioning to climate-friendly technologies and to expand ferry service in rural areas. The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announced today includes: 

  • The Passenger Ferry Program supports capital projects to buy, replace, or modernize passenger ferries, terminals, and related equipment. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, $51 million is available. 
  • The Electric or Low Emitting Ferry Program provides federal support to transit agencies to buy ferry vessels that reduce emissions by using alternative fuels or on-board energy storage systems. For FY 2024, $49 million is available for grants under BIL. 
  • The Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program provides federal support to initiate or expand ferry services in rural areas, including capital, planning, and operating costs. For FY 2024, $216 million is available for grants under BIL.  

“Passenger ferries provide critical and cost-effective travel for people throughout the United States, but many ferry agencies are not able to maintain all of their vessels in a state of good repair and make necessary investments in safety,” said FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool. “FTA is pleased to provide federal support to help modernize and expand how people travel by water while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, advancing equity by making transit available to more people, and creating good-paying jobs.” 

Past grants have helped transit authorities upgrade ferry service across the country, from Alaska to Maine, to Georgia and California. Last year, FTA announced $220.2 million in project selections through its ferry programs. See the full list of grants.  

Instructions for applying and eligibility information can be found on FTA’s website and in GRANTS.GOV (FTA-2024-007-TPM-PassFerry), (FTA-2024-009-TPM-Rural Ferry) and (FTA-2024-008-TPM-Electric). Complete proposals must be submitted electronically through the GRANTS.GOV “APPLY” function by June 17, 2024.