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Mayor Adams Announces NYC Receives $7.5 Million In Federal Funding To Electrify Governors Island Ferry

December 1, 2023

Funding Will Support New Rapid Charging Station to Support Governors Island’s Hybrid-Electric Ferry Coming Next Summer

Additional $3 Million Grant Will Support 24/7 Staten Island Ferry Operations

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced that New York City has been awarded more than $10 million in U.S. Federal Transit Administration funding to support ferry operations serving Governors Island and Staten Island. One $7.5 million grant will fund the installation of shoreside rapid charging infrastructure to support the fully electric operations of the new hybrid-electric Governors Island Ferry announced by Mayor Adams and the Trust for Governors Island in March 2023. The other grant, for $3 million, will fund the rehabilitation of a New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) offsite storage facility supporting 24/7 operations of the Staten Island Ferry.

The new, hybrid-electric Governors Island Ferry will be the first vessel of its kind to provide public transportation within New York Harbor, eliminating 800 tons of carbon emissions per year. Along with the nation-leading Center for Climate Solutions coming to Governors Island, anchored by the New York Climate Exchange announced in April 2023, Mayor Adams and the Trust are establishing Governors Island as a national hub for green innovation. The upgrades to Staten Island Ferry infrastructure follow the Adams administration’s agreement with the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association — the city’s first contract with Staten Island Ferry licensed officers since 2010 — helping deliver the reliable, 24/7 ferry service Staten Islanders and all riders deserve.

“New York City’s waterways are key arteries for our city — and the $10 million federal investment we have delivered for our ferry systems today will strengthen this smart, enjoyable way to enjoy the ride from point A to point B,” said Mayor Adams. “With another major win for the Staten Island Ferry, our administration is helping Staten Islanders get to work in the morning and home to their families in the evening. At the same time, we are putting innovative technology to work — reinforcing Governors Island as a nation-leading center of climate innovation and welcoming this first-of-its-kind public, electric vessel to provide cleaner air in New York Harbor. We are grateful to the Federal Transit Administration and to our federal, state, and city partners who joined us in advocating for this investment in New York City.”

“As we look to significantly scale the use of our waterways for fun and freight, we are excited to benefit from this investment from the Biden administration to support Staten Island Ferry operations and introduce the first 100 percent electric public ferry in New York Harbor, serving trips to Governors Island,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “We appreciate the support from Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and the New York City congressional delegation in working to secure funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

“Governors Island continues to grow as an unparalleled resource for education, open space, and resiliency right in the middle of New York Harbor,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “This federal grant from the Biden administration will help bring a state-of-the-art, electric ferry to our waters — reducing emissions, supporting green infrastructure, and furthering New York City’s commitment to lead in the area of climate resiliency. I thank Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and our congressional delegation for their partnership in bringing further federal investments to New York City.”

“As Governors Island grows as a model for sustainable urban environments, we are proud to be able to make this critical investment that will equip New York Harbor with its first ever electric passenger ferry,” said Trust for Governors Island President and CEO Clare Newman. “With this grant, the shoreside charging station powering our new ferry will serve hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, while also championing environmental sustainability. We are thankful to the Biden administration, our partner Mayor Eric Adams, and allies like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Chuck Schumer. Together, we will make the voyage to Governors Island cleaner and greener than ever before.”

“The Staten Island Ferry is the busiest passenger-only ferry service in the world — providing safe, reliable, and affordable transit to nearly 24 million passengers each year,” said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “This historic investment from the Federal Transit Administration will enable DOT to rehabilitate the storage facility that houses spare ferry parts and dock building materials, known as Building 45. This building will be better equipped to support efficient ferry operations through new fencing, improved lot access and drainage, upgraded utilities and lighting, and renewable energy elements. We thank the Federal Transit Administration, along with Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and the numerous elected officials and advocates, for their partnership in securing this critical investment. It is even sweeter knowing this federal funding will also support the first-ever electric passenger ferry to Governors Island.”

“Every year, tens of millions of passengers rely on the Staten Island Ferry for their daily commutes and more, and Governors Island welcomes nearly 1 million visitors,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer. “That’s why I fought so hard to include these much-needed funds in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support Governors Island and Staten Island Ferry operations. These federal grants provide the resources needed to strengthen Staten Island Ferry operations and will fund shoreside charging infrastructure for Governors Island’s hybrid-electric ferry, expanding access for visitors.”

“Exclusively accessible by ferry, Governors Island is a national treasure that offers a range of unique resources that should be enjoyed by all New Yorkers,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “This $7.48 million in funding will allow for the construction of critical shoreside infrastructure to enable rapid charging for ferry vessels. Building this infrastructure will significantly reduce emissions, decrease maintenance costs, improve reliability of ferry service for passengers, and provide significant improvements in air quality for residents of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. I am proud to announce this funding and will continue to fight to improve transportation for passengers and bring federal dollars home to New York.”

The grants were secured as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which became law in November 2021. Valuable support for the city’s application came from Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, U.S. Representative Dan Goldman, U.S. Representative Nicole Malliotakis, and local elected officials and advocates.

New York City’s first public, hybrid-electric ferry is scheduled to begin service between Lower Manhattan and Governors Island in the summer of 2024. The vessel’s rapid charging infrastructure, made possible by this capital grant, will enable the ferry to operate with zero-emission, battery-only propulsion, which will drop emissions to nearly zero. The new hybrid-electric ferry will expand access for Governors Island’s nearly 1 million annual visitors and will serve the forthcoming Center for Climate Solutions.

The ferry’s hybrid propulsion system will reduce air pollution by allowing it to toggle between zero-emission, battery-only power and battery-assisted hybrid with diesel backup. The battery-assist mode will allow the new ferry to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 800 tons annually. The shoreside charging infrastructure will be located at Soissons Ferry Landing on Governors Island, with construction anticipated to be completed in 2025.

The $3 million awarded to DOT will rehabilitate an off-site storage facility, locally referred to as “Building 45.” The Staten Island Ferry is the busiest passenger-only ferry service in the world, carrying nearly 24 million passengers each year. It operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan.

“From trains to buses and now electric ferries — the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is transforming how New Yorkers access some of the city’s most celebrated attractions, including Governors Island,” said Representative Nadler. “I applaud the addition of the first 100 percent electric public ferry in New York Harbor, which will serve as a testament to Governors Island’s future as a hub for climate education, training, and research. I’m proud of my work in Congress to modernize and expand transit service for New Yorkers, and I will keep fighting to build on the progress we are seeing here today.”

“From securing critical funds to modernize our ferry fleet, to advocating for a new contract for our ferry workers, to delivering a grant to rehabilitate this storage facility, I will continue to keep my commitment to improve the service reliability of the Staten Island Ferry,” said Representative Malliotakis. “Staten Island is finally receiving its fair share of federal infrastructure funding, and I will continue to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight for more funding to bring our community’s infrastructure into the 21st century.”

“I am thrilled that the success of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will again directly serve New York’s frontline communities. Governors Island is at the forefront of fighting climate change through clean energy maritime transportation,” said Representative Goldman. “I am also grateful to the Federal Transit Administration for granting my request for this support for the Governors Island Ferry electrification infrastructure project. Congratulations to Governors Island and the New York City Department of Transportation on this vital grant, and I look forward to working together in the future to make our waterways greener and cleaner.”

“Creating and utilizing the infrastructure needed for New York Harbor's first 100 percent electric public ferry is a crucial step towards meeting our ambitious climate goals,” said New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “I applaud the Federal Transit Administration for recognizing the keen need for shoreside charging infrastructure in New York, and I look forward to seeing our first fully electric ferry in action!”

“I am thrilled to see New York City leading the way in sustainable transportation with the introduction of the first hybrid-electric ferry for Governors Island,” said New York State Assemblymember Charles D. Fall. “This substantial federal investment not only enhances our city’s infrastructure but also aligns with our commitment to environmental stewardship. By reducing emissions and advancing clean energy solutions, we are taking critical steps towards a greener future. The shoreside rapid charging infrastructure represents a significant leap forward in our ongoing efforts to reduce carbon footprints and promote eco-friendly travel options for New Yorkers and visitors alike. I commend the Biden administration, Mayor Adams, and our federal partners for their vision and commitment to transforming our city’s transit system into a model of sustainability.”

“Governors Island continues to shine as an example of sustainable, resilient urban life, and this investment in mass transit and green infrastructure is a win for New Yorkers, our harbor, and our environment. I’m grateful to every colleague, ally, and advocate who contributed to securing this funding for a more sustainable city and transit system,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “The future of New York Harbor is increasingly green.”

“In receiving this grant from the Federal Transit Administration, New York City is taking an important step towards a sustainable future. Thanks to this funding, we are not just improving transportation across our city — we are paving the way for carbon-conscious travel,” said New York City Councilmember James F. Gennaro, chair, Committee on Environmental Protection, Resiliency, and Waterfronts. “This project is a testament to our commitment to environmental stewardship and a catalyst for positive change towards a more interconnected and eco-friendly future.”

“We are excited this federal funding can be put to good use to benefit not just the Lower Manhattan community but all visitors to Governors Island,” said New York City Councilmember Christopher Marte. “This is a great step towards making all public vehicles greener and reducing our city’s massive carbon footprint.”

“Electrifying our city is a vital step in tackling the climate crisis,” said New York City Councilmember Lincoln Restler. “Thanks to support from the Biden administration, Governors Island continues to lead the way on sustainability, and I am excited to ride their new hybrid-electric ferry next summer.”

“Community Board 1 is thrilled to see such quick advancement of green initiatives with the inclusion of a rapid charging station in the shoreside infrastructure that will support the hybrid-electric ferries to serve Governors Island,” said Tammy Meltzer, chair, Manhattan Community Board 1. “This federal investment enables us to mark a pivotal step towards reducing our environmental footprint, while enhancing transportation and air quality for our community. Thank you, Mayor Adams, for this initiative that not only symbolizes our commitment to green infrastructure but also strengthens our city’s resilience in facing the challenges of climate change.”

“Governors Island is an inspiring example for how cities around the world will adapt to climate change, and with today’s announcement, we are showcasing sustainable transportation options by making New York City’s first public ferry 100 percent electric,” said Alicia Glen, chair, board of directors, Trust for Governors Island. “We’re grateful to President Biden, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and all of our government partners in making this historic investment a reality.”

“This pivotal grant for shoreside charging infrastructure is yet another step forward in the transition to renewable energy and the creation of a more sustainable route to Governors Island. But more importantly, it’s a message to the world of how seriously our city and state take climate change, and it’s a symbol of what’s possible when all of us — government entities, elected officials, policy experts, and more — work together,” said Dr. Stephen Hammer, CEO, The New York Climate Exchange. “This funding will empower thousands of visitors each year to access Governors Island in a sustainable way, demonstrating how we can adapt to the climate crisis with a forward-looking vision. Thank you to the congressional delegation, the Trust for Governors Island, and all those who helped deliver this important funding.”

“As the region’s premier advocate for waterborne transportation, we are thrilled with the city’s ability to leverage federal funding for our ferry operations,” said Cortney Koenig Worrall, president and CEO, Waterfront Alliance. “The funding awarded today highlights two integral components of Waterfront Alliance’s advocacy on waterfront transportation: innovation and maintenance. In a stride toward innovation, new funding will support shoreside rapid charging infrastructure for the city’s first electric ferry. Additionally, in a wise effort to address waterfront maintenance, new funding is also being dedicated to the rehabilitation of Building 45, a key storage facility supporting the 24/7 operations of the Staten Island Ferry. We applaud DOT and Mayor Adams for demonstrating the ability to invest in the future, while also meeting operations and maintenance needs of our critical infrastructure.”

“We’re proud to hear that innovation in our own backyard will raise the bar for sustainable transportation infrastructure in New York City. A 100 percent electric ferry means the future has arrived in New York Harbor,” said Jessica Lappin, president, Alliance for Downtown New York. “Governors Island is one of the city’s gems, and we enthusiastically welcome news that traveling to this unique destination from Lower Manhattan will soon be cleaner and more efficient.”

“The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School community is excited to welcome New York Harbor’s first 100 percent electric public ferry to Governors Island,” said Aneal Helms, principal, New York Urban Assembly Harbor School. “Our New York City public high school students embrace their roles as stewards of their environment every day, as they participate in career and technical education pathways ranging from marine science to marine affairs to marine technology. We applaud this grant from the Federal Transit Administration that will allow our students, faculty, and staff to truly manifest the mission of our school while commuting to and from school every day.”

“The team here at Billion Oyster Project is excited to be part of a decarbonized New York City and is looking forward to a more sustainable commute to Governors Island,” said Pete Malinowski, executive director, Billion Oyster Project. “Governors Island is leading the way with the city’s first ferry that will run without the use of fossil fuels.”

“We are thrilled to witness Governors Island’s evolution into a hub for innovative, environmentally conscious initiatives, such as the development of the first 100 percent electric public ferry in New York Harbor,” said Craig T. Peterson, president, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC). “This investment aligns with LMCC’s commitment to environmental responsibility and with our existing work at The Arts Center at Governors Island, a platform for environmental research and practice at the intersection of climate justice and the arts. We are excited to participate in further initiatives that serve the broader public and lead to action, advocacy, and increased engagement with one of the most critical issues of our time.”

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