Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

9 9 then issue a request for proposals (RFP) to a shortlist of bidders. New Jersey’s Office of Maritime Resources has plans to improve its ferry infrastructure too. In March, the agency is expected to advertise an RFP for work related to its South Amboy Ferry Terminal. The scope of the project warrants a budget in the $1 million to $5 million range. The funds will be used for a project that includes dredging efforts in Middlesex County. The Casco Bay Island Transit District (CBITD), which operates ferry routes from Portland, Maine, will solicit assistance from the private sector to improve its regional services. With initial funding from the state’s most recent budget, the CBITD will oversee projects which include a new ferry. Specifically, transit officials will use $10 million to contract work on a new $10 million vessel in 2023. During this same timeframe, an additional $3 million allocation from the state will allow the CBITD to rehabilitate the pier and substructure for basing its ferry fleet. In 2021, Skagit County in Washington approved a 14-year ferry capital improvement plan that will usher in new opportunities for potential private-sector partners. The county has programmed $13.6 million to construct a new ferry for its regional fleet and anticipates opening the project for bidding. The project’s solicitation schedule will coincide with that of its $6 million project to electrify the ferry’s shoreside infrastructure and terminal facilities. The state of Washington is a reliable source for ferry service opportunities, including at Washington State Ferries (WSF) where the agency will seek private partners to help electrify its vessels. The initial phase of the System Electrification Plan will see WSF converting the first of three large ferries from diesel to electric. This phase, which is currently in the planning stage, has already been approved for $35 million in funding from the federal Volkswagen settlement. Construction on the first ferry is scheduled to begin in winter 2022 and will last until 2025 when the ferry will become operational. Another opportunity tied to WSF involves a widely scoped project to rehabilitate West Seattle’s aged Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal. Efforts to seismically retrofit and upgrade the 1950s-era terminal are in the pre-construction/ planning phase. The $93 million budget attached to the plans will cover a 2023 environmental review and its subsequent design and construction phases. In Annapolis, Maryland, the city’s plan for more electric transportation options has presented numerous opportunities. Using over $200,000 in capital funding between late 2022 and 2023, the city will make a down payment on an electric ferry and begin planning and designing the ferry’s electric charging infrastructure. City officials are considering procurement options for the ferry itself, which would likely require an 18-month delivery period. Meanwhile, as planning and design work on the charging infrastructure concludes in 2023, officials will seek additional funding and the work will then open for more solicitations. Even in Texas, significant funding is being set aside to improve local ferry services. The Corpus Christi District’s unified transportation plan for 2022 is committing $60 million towards ferry infrastructure. That funding will be used to rehabilitate and expand facilities along the Port Aransas Ferry’s network of landings. In addition, Texas’ biennial budget for 2022 to 2023 allocates $50 million for ferry services in 2022 and another $50 million in 2023. Those appropriations are over and above what Texas will receive from the federal government’s infrastructure bill. These opportunities represent the immediate future of ferry-related opportunities. Beyond this horizon, $1 billion of the federal government’s infrastructure investment over the next five years will be available for projects that create facilities and vessels for essential ferry services for rural areas. Ferry operations will be improved and become significantly greener over the next five years. Hence, it is a great time to become more familiar with ferry operations in America. CFR The Casco Bay Island Transit District is constructing a new $10 million ferry and carrying out a $3 million project to refurbish the pier and substructure for the vessel Photo: Casco Bay Island Transit District