New York (Staten Island-Midtown Ferry)

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Staten Island-Midtown Manhattan Ferry Service

New York, New York

(November 1996)


The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has proposed construction of terminals and initiation of high-speed ferry service between Staten Island and Midtown Manhattan. The service would be provided by privately owned and operated ferries without public operating subsidies. The estimated cost of this project is $12.6 million (escalated dollars). The estimated ridership is 4,800 per day.


Section 3035(d) of ISTEA directed FTA to negotiate and sign a multiyear grant agreement for $12 million to carry out capital improvements for this proposed project. Congress appropriated $1 million in FY 1992, of which $375,000 was rescinded in FY 1995. In FY 1997, Congress appropriated an additional $372,383.

During FY 1995, FTA approved a grant in the amount of $250,000 for design and engineering activities only. In September 1996, another grant was awarded for $375,000 to support the reconstruction of Slip 7 of the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. This amendment supplements funds previously awarded for a total construction budget of $1.4 million.

NYCDOT has selected an operator for this service. The operator has agreed to procure all vessels at its own expense and to provide the ferry service without operating subsidies. NYCDOT will provide a landing facility at the St. George Ferry Terminal by upgrading an unused slip using FTA funds. NYCDOT and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have hired a design consultant for this work. Final design work is currently underway with completion anticipated for January 1997. Ferry service began in November 1996 using existing terminals on an interim basis until upgraded slips are available in September 1997.


Since the proposed Section 5309 share is less than $25 million, this proposal is not subject to the new start criteria in 49 U.S.C.  Section 5309(e)(2)-(7).


The project, especially its initial $1 million modification of an existing Staten Island ferry slip, would have a very small impact on the city's overall budget, especially since the city expects all operating expenses to be covered by the future private operator. At the present time NYCDOT has not established a capital financing plan for this project. The private operator is paying for the purchase of three catamarans and the operating costs. The balance of the $11 million would pay for a new landing facility on the westside of midtown Manhattan, as well as additional related facilities in Staten Island and Manhattan.