June 04, 2014

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce $6M in Fed Funds for Ferry Upgrades, Including Replacement Of Single-Boat Barges With Double-Boat Barges at East River Ferry’s Hunter’s Point South Site & Brooklyn Bridge Park Landing

Landings at Increasingly Popular East River Ferry’s Hunter’s Point South & Brooklyn Bridge Park Are in Poor Condition & Need to be Modernized; Senators Pushed DOT to Support NYCEDC’s Proposed Project to Improve Existing Brooklyn and Queens Ferry Landings

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand today announced $6 million in federal funding for ferry upgrades and improvements to ferry landing structures, including Hunter’s Point South in Queens and Brooklyn Bridge Park/Pier 6. The project will replace the single-boat barges with new barges capable of receiving two boats at once, increasing efficiency and capacity. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding will go to the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). In October, Schumer supported NYCEDC’s application to modernize the docks.

“Communities all along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts are booming and the East River ferries that serve them are more-and-more popular, but the ferry landings they use seem as old as Robert Fulton’s ferry. That’s why this federal investment is so important – it will modernize and rebuild the landings to allow for more efficient service and more boats at Brooklyn Bridge Park and Hunter’s Point South,” said Schumer. “New York City’s East River Ferry system is a proven success and I am pleased to announce this much-needed funding to help meet the needs of new riders.”

“Investing in transportation infrastructure is one of the fastest, most effective ways to boost our local economy and create jobs,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “This funding will bolster Brooklyn and Queens’ growing waterfront communities, provide critical repairs to ferry landings, and will go a long way towards keeping our ferries running efficiently.”

“As New York City strives to improve its transportation infrastructure across the five boroughs and become a more sustainable city, this federal grant is most welcome news to all New Yorkers. By upgrading existing ferries and landing infrastructure, this critical funding will provide us with the resources to modernize our ferry networks. On behalf of the millions of New Yorkers who travel by ferry on a daily basis, I applaud Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for helping secure this funding from the FTA and look forward to overseeing its implementation at the city’s Department of Transportation and Economic Development Corporation,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The East River Ferry connects Manhattan with destinations in Brooklyn, Queens and Governor’s Island. The pilot program began in June 2011 and has served over 2 million commuters. The ferry service can transport nearly 150 passengers per trip.

The East River Ferry’s Hunter’s Point South landing in Queens is in poor condition. Due to major development in the area, the landing is anticipated to be the location of highest ridership growth on the East River Ferry. The existing landing at Hunter’s Point South includes only a single-boat barge. The existing Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 landing is also a single-boat barge. The landing is inefficient for loading high numbers of riders to Governors Island.

In October, Schumer supported NYCEDC’s application update the landings at Hunter’s Point South and Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6. In his letter, Schumer explained that New York City’s ferry systems are critical in the wake of major weather events, like Superstorm Sandy. Two days after the storm, the East River Ferry was able to serve double its standard weekday ridership. Schumer made the case that, in the face of emergencies, ferry landings provide assets for evacuation. 

Schumer and Gillibrand today announced that funding from the FTA’s discretionary passenger ferry grant program will be provided to upgrade ferry boats, and improve ferry landing structures and infrastructure at Hunter’s Point South in Queens and at Brooklyn Bridge/Pier 6 in Brooklyn. The grant program supports improvements to the condition of public ferry systems by providing financial assistance for capital projects.