FHWA budget seeks $67 million for ferry boat program

Lake-HavasuAPRIL 11, 2013 — Buried away in the FY 2014 budget request for the Federal Highways Administration (FHA) is a $67 million request for the Construction of Ferry Boats and Ferry Terminal Facilities program.

In its justification for the request, the FHA says that "ferry services are important connections on the network of Federal-aid highways. Often times these carry significant numbers of passengers and vehicles. In many case they are the only reasonable form of transportation, particularly on coastal islands which have year round residents."

P/V Tecopa is an example of the type of vessel that has been built with the aid of FHA Ferry Boat funding

"The Ferry Boats and Ferry Terminal Facilities program and its predecessor the Ferry Boat Discretionary program," says FHA, "have provided valuable assistance to help States and other entities to replace or acquire new ferry boats; replace propulsion systems with newer cleaner and more energy efficient power plants; update navigational control system; construct new terminals; improve access for the disabled; and replace and construct new docking facilities.

"The requested $67 million represents an amount equal to the authorized funding level for FY 2013, and is the same as the funding level for recent years. This funding level is necessary in order to maintain important transportation connections on the Federal-aid highway system, as well as provide access to remote areas where other modes of transportation may not be available for passengers and vehicles."

An example of the type of vessel that has been funded from this program and its predecessors is the P/V Tecopa, a 65 ft passenger catamaran for the Chemehuevi Transit Authority of Lake Havasu, CA, that was delivered by Kvichak Marine Industries, Seattle, at the end of last year.

Financed with the support of a $2,915,000 grant under the FY 2011 Ferry Boat Discretionary Award program,Tecopa was sea trialed in Seattle then disassembled and loaded on two trucks and shipped to Havasu Landing, Calif., where it was reassembled by Kvichak with support from the Chemehuevi tribe. Its maiden voyage was on December 3, 2012 (see earlier story).

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