$11.3M grant allocated for N.J. ferry services in Monmouth and Hudson counties

U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker on Monday announced a total of just under $11.3 million in federal transportation grants for two New Jersey ferry services. The funding was awarded through the Federal Transit Administration Passenger Ferry Grant program.

$7.298 million was awarded to repower the propulsion systems on four of NY Waterway’s older ferry vessels from traditionally diesel-driven units to hybrid technology eventually operating on pure electric.

Additionally, $4 million has been allocated to make critical repairs and improvements to the Belford Ferry Terminal in Middletown in Monmouth County.

FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program funds capital projects that help eligible project sponsors support existing passenger ferry service, establish new ferry service and upgrade ferry boats, terminals and related facilities and equipment.

“Transportation funding that supports our local commuters is essential for both our state and regional economy, as well as the communities that host these services,” Menendez (D-N.J.) said. “Both the Belford Ferry and NY Waterway’s Hudson-New York ferry service are vital links in our transportation network that help reduce the number of vehicles on the road while investing in greener and more sustainable transit options.”

“Investing in modernizing our ferries and ferry terminals means quicker commutes, better access to jobs and lower emissions and congestion for the region,” Booker (D-N.J.) said. “I am proud to announce these federal grants that will provide a more reliable, efficient and cleaner experience for commuters and visitors alike.”

The NY Waterway project would consist of removing all main engines and generators, replacing them with two electric-driven propulsion motors, a battery bank of 150 kilowatt-hours and two smaller emergency generators. This creates redundancy in the event of a power failure and a backup system in the event of prolonged power outages, emergency evacuations or any other event in which vessels may be used in a capacity when charging may hinder efforts.

“Ferry service is a critical component of the transportation network in New Jersey,” New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and New Jersey Transit Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “This funding will help set the stage for a sustainable and environmentally friendly ferry system of the future.”

The Belford Ferry Terminal provides passenger ferry service from Middletown to New York City. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ferry carried 1,300 daily passengers and statistics from the first half of 2022 show ridership is returning to pre-pandemic levels. The county will use the funding to repair dockside infrastructure so that passengers are able to safely board and disembark the ferry and maintain a state of good repair at the facility.