Would you consider commuting to DC via a ferry boat across the Potomac River?
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) last week announced the award and distribution of approximately $123.5 million for passenger ferry projects and ferry operators throughout the United States and selected territories, including Alexandria.
Funds for Alexandria, $3,380,000, will support a new commuter ferry from Jones Point Park in Alexandria to the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling military installation in Southeast Washington, D.C.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), in partnership with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), will receive the funds to purchase two ferry vessels to start a new commuter passenger ferry service from Jones Point Park in Alexandria to the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling military installation in Southeast Washington, D.C.
The new service will provide a new transit option for thousands of military and federal employees traveling to the base and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's future headquarters at St. Elizabeth’s campus.
“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,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “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.”
The DOT’s ferry funds are administered separately through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Passenger Ferry Grant Program, which is providing $60 million in competitive funds for 26 projects in 13 states and Puerto Rico; and the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Ferry Boat Formula Program, which is providing $63.5 million to 114 operators in 37 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Waterways help to define and shape the economies of many of our cities and tribal communities, and in these places, ferry service is an essential form of transportation,” said FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan. “We must bring our existing ferry systems and facilities into a state of good repair, and support new ferry service where there’s a clear need.”
Projects eligible for FHWA’s FY 2014 Ferry Boat Program must be at least 50 percent publicly owned or operated and publicly regulated—a measure adopted to ensure that public funds are not used for private commercial ferry operations. Eligible operators and terminals are identified in the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ National Census of Ferry Operators.
“These projects help provide more travel choices to people and improve access to jobs,” Federal Highway Deputy Administrator Gregory Nadeau said. “Ferry service represents a key transportation link for certain communities – much like highways and bridges do in other areas of the country.”