U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressmember Dan Donovan and Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that $6 million in federal Department of Transportation grant funds will be provided to the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) for Staten Island Ferry-related upgrades. Specifically, the funds will be used to replace deck scows for the Staten Island Ferry Dockbuilding Unit, and upgrade ramps and racks at the ferry maintenance facility. The funds come from the FY 2015 and FY 2016 Passenger Ferry Grant Program, which provides competitive funding to public ferry systems in urbanized areas.
“Not only does the Staten Island Ferry transport millions of people each year, it is also an important part of our transit system during an emergency and so, we need to make sure it is in the best possible shape,” said Senator Schumer. “I am pleased to announce this $6 million federal investment which will go towards upgrading the Staten Island Ferry. “
“This funding through the Department of Transportation would help provide much needed repairs and renovations to the Staten Island Ferry’s infrastructure,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Ferry is essential to the daily commute of tens of thousands of Staten Islanders, who deserve efficient, dependable transportation. I will continue fighting for additional funding to help keep the Staten Island Ferry running safely and on time.”
“You sent me to Washington to deliver results. I’m proud to join my colleagues in announcing this investment – the thousands of people who ride the ferry every day deserve it. Working on both sides of the aisle, we also changed an unfair formula last year and secured additional funding for the Staten Island Ferry,” said Rep. Donovan.
“The ferry is a lifeline for Staten Island. That’s why we’ve focused on enhanced service, including with 30-minute around-the-clock service. This latest $6 million investment will ensure an even better Staten Island Ferry, and I’m grateful to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Congressmember Donovan for their continued partnership,” said Mayor de Blasio.
As the only ferry service between Staten Island and Manhattan, the Staten Island Ferry has over 22 million passengers per year. The boats make 109 daily trips during the work week and carry approximately 70,000 passengers daily. The boats make over 40,000 trips annually. The ferry is run by the New York City Department of Transportation, which maintains the boat fleet and all its respective buildings.
First, this funding will go towards purchasing new deck scows at the Staten Island Ferry Dockbuilding Unit, which performs operational and maintenance function for the Staten Island Ferry by ensuring that ferry landing slips, racks and piers are in a state of good repair for the safe docking and departure of the fleet. Existing deck scows are between 25- 40 years old.
Second, this funding will go towards upgrades at the Ferry Maintenance Facility, which is used to conduct intensive and comprehensive maintenance of the fleet. The facility’s maintenance pier is used to tie-up ferries while they undergo intensive and comprehensive maintenance. The pier has four locations for ferries to tie-up, two of which are located at the head (front) of the pier and are fitted with fenders against which the ferries can be berthed to provide access for maintenance equipment. The steel piles for these racks are deteriorating and substructure work is necessary to maintain the facility’s state of good repair. This project will design and reconstruct the bridge substructure and fenders to ensure the facility remains in a state of good repair.
Lastly, a portion of this grant funding will go towards City Island Access Bridge Replacement because the Staten Island Ferry provides ferry service between two DOT-owned marine terminals at City Island and Hart Island. This project will return the access pier to a state of good repair, prolonging the useful life of the pier by restoring its structural integrity and allow for the continued, uninterrupted use.