The US Department of Transportation (DoT) has awarded nearly $123.5m in funds to improve passenger ferry transport, for new projects and support ferry operators across the country and selected territories.

The DoT’s ferry grant is expected to support the existing ferry service, create new services, and repair and upgrade ferry boats, terminals and associated facilities.

US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said: “Passenger ferries play an important role in our nation’s transportation network by connecting people with the jobs and services they need to reach across the river, the bay, or other local waterway.”

“We need Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill so we can continue to invest in ferry boat services that provide ladders of opportunity for hard-working families.”

“These projects help provide more travel choices to people and improve access to jobs.” 

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) passenger ferry grant programme is currently providing $60m in funds for 26 projects in 13 states and also Puerto Rico.

Additionally, the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) ferry boat formula programme is providing $63.5m to 114 operators in 37 states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Federal Highway deputy administrator Gregory Nadeau said: “These projects help provide more travel choices to people and improve access to jobs.”

“Ferry service represents a key transportation link for certain communities, much like highways and bridges do in other areas of the country.”

The Obama Administration has also unveiled the GROW AMERICA Act; a $302bn, four-year national vision to tackle an ageing transportation network and a growing population.

Image: A ferry service in Seattle. Photo: US Department of Transportation/Federal Transit Administration.