JTA awarded $5.2M to upgrade ferry service


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Transportation Authority will receive $5.2 million in federal grant money to modernize its ferry.

JTA had requested $9.3 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration -- which would have included enough to buy a second boat.

JTA said it intends to seek funding for a new vessel in the future, but for now, the $5.2 million it was awarded will go toward overhauling the Jean Ribault, the current boat, which is required by the U.S. Coast Guard every two to three years.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration announced the grant Friday as part of $47.5 million to selected projects nationwide “to improve access, safety, and reliability of America’s ferries and their passengers.”

A total of 12 projects in 12 states will receive funding from FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program.

“This $47.5 million in federal funding will improve mobility and enhance safety for passenger ferry services across our nation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The grants will fund projects to purchase, replace, or rehabilitate passenger ferries, terminals, and related infrastructure and equipment.

“Passenger ferries are an important mode of transportation across the country, providing thousands of people with access to employment, education, and other critical needs,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams.

Among the other projects selected to receive funding:

  • The Casco Bay Island Transit District in Portland, Maine, will receive $3.2 million to purchase a new electric hybrid propulsion system that will be used to power a new passenger ferry vessel as part of a vehicle replacement project.
  • The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Boston, Massachusetts, will receive $3.5 million to repair two passenger ferry vessels to ensure continued service reliability, passenger safety, and a state of good repair.

FTA received 19 eligible proposals totaling approximately $102 million in funding requests from 14 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Project proposals were evaluated based on criteria outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. The selected projects will receive $30 million in Fiscal Year 2020 funding and $17.5 million in prior year funding.

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