Two HMS Ferries projects helped by grants

JULY 11, 2014 — HMS Ferries, Inc., Bainbridge Island, WA, says that two different projects with which it is associated were awarded state and federal grants for capital improvements, equaling a combined total of nearly $10 million. Most of the funding came from the $123.5 million of ferry funding recently announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation (see earlier story).

The first win for HMS Ferries was awarded to the operation in Jacksonville, FL, where it operates 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 Jacksonville Transit Authority will receive $3,973,099 in funding to replace aging ferry slips that have reached the end of their useful life. The same day, the St. Johns River Ferry Commission, on behalf of the City of Jacksonville, was awarded a separate $1 million from the Florida Department of Transportation for capital improvements to the ferry.

The second win for HMS Ferries occurred in Tampa, FL, where the company 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 $4,772,755 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.

Greg Dronkert, President and COO of HMS Ferries, Inc., said, "This is great news for our clients and, of course our HMS Ferries team. 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. This is really excellent news!"

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