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Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or "FAST Act"

This FAST Act Fact Sheet has been superseded by a BIL FBP Fact Sheet.

Ferry Boat Program

Fiscal year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Authorization $80 M $80 M $80 M $80 M $80 M

Program purpose

The FAST Act continues the Ferry Boat Program, which funds the construction of ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities.

Statutory citations

FAST Act § 1112; 23 U.S.C. 147

Funding features

Type of budget authority

Contract authority from the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund, subject to the overall Federal-aid obligation limitation. Funds are available until expended but are subject to redistribution (described below) if not timely obligated.


The FAST Act continues to allocate FBP funds to States, U.S. territories, and Puerto Rico, and then further among eligible entities (ferry systems), based on a statutory formula. However, the FAST Act modifies that formula, giving greater weight to the number of passengers carried by ferry systems. The formula is now—

The FAST Act also newly guarantees that a State with an eligible entity under the program will receive a minimum of $100,000 in FBP funding each fiscal year. [23 U.S.C. 147(f)]

Redistribution of amounts unobligated within four fiscal years

The FAST Act requires DOT to—

Federal share

80% [23 U.S.C. 147(b)]

Eligible activities

The FAST Act continues without modification all existing FBP eligibilities. It explicitly prohibits FBP funding for the construction or purchase, for private ownership, of a ferry boat, terminal facility, or other project. [23 U.S.C. 129(c)(3)(B)] It also changes the mechanism used for selling, leasing, or otherwise disposing of Federally-funded ferry boats and terminal facilities. [23 U.S.C. 129(c)(7)]

Program features

National ferry database

The FAST Act continues to require the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to maintain a national ferry database, and authorizes the use of up to $500,000 per year of the Bureau’s funding for this purpose. [FAST Act § 1112(b); SAFETEA-LU § 1801(e)(4)]

Ferry entities are required to submit data to the most recent collection of data for the national ferry database in order to be eligible for FBP funding. FBP funds will be allocated using the most current data. At the discretion of the Secretary, adjustments can be made to misreported or inconsistent data. [FAST Act § 1112(b)-(c); 23 U.S.C. 147(g)]

February 2016

Page last modified on November 3, 2022
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