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Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)

Fact Sheets on Highway Provisions


Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Authorization $38M $55M $60M $65M $67M

Program Purpose

This discretionary program provides funding for the construction of ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities.

Statutory References

SAFETEA-LU Section(s): 1101(a)(13), 1801

Other: 23 USC 147 & 129(c)


Funded by contract authority, to remain available until expended. Funds are subject to the overall Federal-aid obligation limitation.

In addition to the authorizations provided in section 1101, there is funding authorized from the General Fund of the Treasury of such sums as may be necessary (ssambn) to carry out the provisions of the program for fiscal years 2006 through 2009. These funds are subject to annual appropriation. [1801]

For fiscal years 2005 through 2009, $20M of each year's authorization is set aside for projects within the marine highway systems that are part of the NHS. Each year the $20M setaside will be distributed in the following manner:

  • $10M to the State of Alaska
  • $5M to the State of New Jersey
  • $5M to the State of Washington

Priority shall be given to projects that:

  • provide critical access to areas not well served by other modes of surface transportation
  • carry the greatest number of passengers and vehicles
  • carry the greatest number of passengers in passengers-only service

Eligible Use of Funds

Funds shall be available to construct ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities within the States and territories of the United States. The ferry boat must operate on a route classified as a public road and not on the Interstate and be either publicly owned or operated or majority publicly owned. Except as permitted under 23 USC 129(c)(5), ferry operations cannot be operated in foreign or international waters.

Program Features

The Secretary is required to establish a national ferry database. The database must be compiled within 1 year of enactment of SAFETEA-LU, be updated every 2 years, and be readily available to the public. Funding to establish and maintain the database will be provided by a takedown of up to $500,000 from Bureau of Transportation Statistics funds (section 5101). The database will contain information regarding routes, vessels, passengers and vehicles carried, funding sources, and other useful information. Using information collected through the database, the Secretary shall periodically update the report submitted under section 1207(c) of TEA-21.

Federal Share

The Federal share is 80 percent.

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