New York’s Staten Island has received $191.55m federal funding for the construction of two new storm-resilient 4,500-passenger ferry boats.
US Senators Charles E Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and Mayor Bill de Blasio jointly announced the grant for upgrades to Staten Island ferry facilities’ flood-proofing resilience and ferry landings resilience.
The new vessels will be designed to operate in a wider range of conditions and locations, and will be capable of carrying more people for situations such as evacuation.
Schumer said: "Following the unspeakable devastation on Staten Island wrought by Superstorm Sandy, with this massive federal investment that we fought so hard to secure, we can truly say that Staten Island’s ships have come in."
Earlier, Schumer and Gillibrand had demanded the US Department of Transportation (DoT) to grant funding as part of the third tranche of disaster Federal Transit Authority funding from the Sandy Relief Bill.
As part of the city’s comprehensive resiliency plan, this project will also support the modification of various ship landings to provide space for the new generation of ferries, which will provide critical support to rail transit services.
The funding is also part of New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYCDOT) comprehensive ferry transit resiliency plan. NYCDOT has already selected Elliott Bay Design Group to design the ferries.
Apart from the construction of two boats, part of the funding will be used for dry and wet flood-proofing protective resilience upgrades at the St. George and Whitehall terminals.
US DoT commissioner Polly Trottenberg said: "This funding will provide better ferry service for the 22 million passengers who ride the Staten Island ferry every year, and better prepare New York City for future storms."
New York’s Staten Island ferry makes 35,000 trips a year.
Image: The Staten Island ferry makes 35,000 trips a year, serving around 22 million passengers. Photo: courtesy of NorbertNagel.