The state ferry system has been designated as a Marine Highway project by the federal Maritime Administration, opening up opportunities for federal funding for vessel and terminal improvements.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the designation, a first for the state, this week, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division.
The designation allows the ferry system to apply to the Marine Highway Grant Program, which awards federal funding to modernize vessels and improve infrastructure at terminals. This year’s grant program awarded $9.7 million to marine highway projects across the country.
“We are delighted to be included in the Maritime Administration’s Marine Highway Program,” said Ferry Division Director Harold Thomas in a statement. “This designation will allow us to potentially acquire funding for much-needed projects throughout our system that would otherwise require state assistance.”
The federal program involves 35 other projects nationwide. Marine Highway Projects are chosen for their importance to local economies, travel times and public safety.