HMS Ferries has been awarded $10 million in state and federal grants for capital improvements for two projects. The majority of the funding is from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which has awarded approximately $123.5 million for passenger ferry projects and ferry operators throughout the U.S. and selected territories.
Under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act, FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program was authorized, for the first time, to provide competitive funding to public ferry systems in urbanized areas. Funds are awarded based on factors such as the age and condition of existing ferry boats, terminals and related infrastructure; benefits to riders, such as increased reliability; project readiness; and connectivity to other modes of transportation.
The first award for HMS Ferries was for its Jacksonville, Fla., operation. The Jacksonville Transit Authority will receive about $4 million in funding to replace aging ferry slips that have reached the end of their useful lives. The new docking equipment will be used for the St. Johns River Ferry, which connects the north and south ends of Florida State Road A1A in Duval County and serves more than 225,000 riders each year. The same day, the St. Johns River Ferry Commission, on behalf of the city of Jacksonville, was awarded $1 million from the Florida Department of Transportation for capital improvements to the ferry.
In Tampa, HMS Ferries has been working under a public-private partnership with Hillsborough County on a proposed high-speed ferry that will connect MacDill Air Force Base to South Hillsborough County, with future routes that will connect St. Petersburg and downtown Tampa. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority will receive about $4.8 million to implement the new high-speed passenger ferry service that will provide a completely new transit option for residents who travel around Tampa Bay. The project includes the construction of a new ferry terminal and related infrastructure, and up to four passenger ferries.
“This is great news for our clients and, of course our HMS Ferries team," Greg Dronkert, president and COO of HMS Ferries, said in a release. "These grants provide for terminal improvements in Jacksonville that promote the safe, reliable and efficient operation of the St. Johns River Ferry. In Tampa, the grant helps solidify a complete project-funding package that will lead to the launch of a completely new service."
HMS Ferries is part of the HMS Global Maritime family of businesses.