FTA issues NOFO for $220 million to support or modernize passenger ferry service

May 19, 2023
The Passenger Ferry Program and the Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program are both included in the NOFO.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $220 million to support or modernize passenger ferry service in rural and urban communities across the country. The funding comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and includes two grant programs:

  1. The Passenger Ferry Program
  2. Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program

The Passenger Ferry Program supports capital projects to buy, replace or modernize passenger ferries, terminals and related equipment. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, $50.1 million is available, of which $5 million is set aside specifically for low- or zero-emission ferries and related facilities/equipment.

The Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program is a competitive grant program created by the IIJA and provides funding to ensure essential ferry service in rural communities. The funding supports capital, planning and operating assistance to support or expand ferry services in rural areas. For FY 2023, $170 million is available.

 Across the country, there are approximately three million ferry riders each month. Past grants have helped transit authorities upgrade ferry service across the country.

"For many Americans, ferries are the best way get to work, go to school or reach a hospital, particularly in island communities and Alaska Native villages," said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "Everyone ought to have access to affordable, reliable transportation options, and thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are taking an important step to improve ferry service across the country."

In January, FTA announced $384.4 million in project selections through its Ferry Grant Programs, with nearly $100 million in funding going toward its third Ferry Program, the Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry Pilot Program, which is designed to help decrease greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

"Passenger ferries provide critical and cost-effective travel for people throughout the United States, but they currently face a backlog of state of good repair and safety investments," said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. "This funding will modernize and expand transit systems, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance equity by making transit available to more people while maintaining and creating good-paying jobs."