Feds award $1 million for Maine ferry service upgrades

The Maine State Ferry Terminal in November.
Stephen Betts
The Maine State Ferry Terminal in November.
Posted April 15, 2014, at 10:40 a.m.
Last modified April 15, 2014, at 8:58 p.m.

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ROCKLAND, Maine — The islands served by the Maine State Ferry Service will see improvements to their marine transportation system, thanks to a $1 million grant from U.S. Department of Transportation.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree on Monday announced the release of the federal money.

The grant will pay for a number of projects, including a new, more efficient and reliable engine for one of the ferries that serves Vinalhaven, the Capt. Charles Philbrook; rehabilitation of the transfer bridge at Swan’s Island; rehabilitation of the ferry dock on Matinicus Island; and an upgrade of lighting fixtures at all ferry facilities to LED lights.

In addition, the ferry service is exploring the construction of a layover berth on Vinalhaven, which aims to reduce the number of canceled or delayed trips when an unscheduled emergency run involves one of the ferries that serve Vinalhaven.

“I know firsthand how much islanders depend on a reliable ferry service,” Pingree said in a written statement. “Not only is it critical for island economies, but in emergency situations it is a literal lifeline to those of us who live on a Maine island.”

Pingree is a resident of North Haven.

Collins said in a written statement that Maine’s ferry services are “essential not only for tourism, but also for maintaining year-round communities on our islands. This investment will help provide critical upgrades to our ferry infrastructure and continue to promote economic development in our island communities.”

The Maine State Ferry Service provides service to the islands of North Haven, Vinalhaven, Islesboro, Matinicus, Swan’s Island and Frenchboro.

 

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