A $6.6 million Federal Transit Authority (FTA) grant awarded to the MBTA for capital improvements to the Hingham ferry dock at the Hingham Shipyard will modernize the dock, improve safety and accessibility, and bring the facility into a state of good repair while enhancing the experience of commuters and improving the reliability and resiliency of this popular mode of transportation.
“This is a significant amount of money to invest in the ferry dock, especially when a few years ago Rep. Joan Meschino and I were on a call with the MBTA talking about potentially reducing or removing ferry service [from the Shipyard],” Sen. Patrick O’Connor told the Hingham Anchor. “This grant shows us how far we have come.”
The senator further noted that the ferry provided service to more than half a million passengers annually before the COVID-19 pandemic, “and the number of riders is starting to pick up again.”
This construction and rehabilitation project will replace the existing dock with one that is permanent, with a fully accessible and covered gangway and canopy. Lighting, safety, and security systems will all be upgraded as well, and a generator will be installed to provide full backup power to the dock and Hingham Intermodal Center during power outages.
The design work for the project is expected to be complete by the end of 2023, with construction slated to begin in 2024.
“This will be a state-of-the art project that will enhance the experience for commuters who take the ferry to work or for fun. Using federal dollars to make these repairs is a great opportunity,” O’Connor said. “This investment in the Hingham dock will benefit all the South Shore commuters who use this service.”
The funding comes as part of the FTA’s Fiscal 2022 Passenger Ferry Grant Program, which commits to enhancing and revitalizing public ferry systems in the nation’s urbanized areas.
“Rep. Meschino and I worked with the Baker-Polito and Healey-Driscoll administrations to ensure that Hingham ferry dock improvements were prioritized, and I’m glad to say they were,” O’Connor said.
The FTA awarded more than $380 million in competitive funding to ferry projects through three discretionary grant programs, with the MBTA receiving the Passenger Ferry Grant Program’s largest award in the nation.
The MBTA and its partners have won more than a dozen competitive grant awards totaling nearly $250 million dollars to help fund MBTA capital needs — including an unprecedented $116 million award in 2022 from the FTA to support the purchase of battery-electric buses, “which is a significant boost to the T’s aggressive transition toward an entirely zero-emission fleet of over 1,100 buses by 2040,” according to MBTA officials.
“We are thrilled to be awarded this grant for capital improvements to the Hingham ferry dock, which furthers our commitment to improving passenger safety and maintaining a state of good repair across our system,” said MBTA Interim General Manager Jeffrey Gonneville. “This funding is the result of the MBTA’s aggressive strategy in seeking federal discretionary funds and also serves as a critical component of our wider efforts to ensure our system maintains our priority of safety. We appreciate the support of the congressional delegation and countless individuals who have engaged with us to move the project forward,” including O’Connor and Meschino’s efforts.
“This project will both help to increase the capacity of our ferry service and will also make it more resilient against severe weather and climate change,” according to MBTA officials.
As the work gets underway, commuters will be able to see firsthand “in a transparent manner how these resources will be used to make the experience better for all involved,” O’Connor said. “I’m so happy this project is moving forward. It’s a great kick-start to the new year, with the hope of bringing more state and federal funding resources to the South Shore in the future.”
Original Source: https://www.hinghamanchor.com/6-6-million-grant-awarded-for-hingham-ferry-dock-improvements/
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