Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced today that the Casco Bay Island Transit District (CBITD) has been awarded $1,900,000 to keep its ferries, facility, and equipment in service and in good working condition during the COVID-19 pandemic. This grant was awarded in addition to the $2.6 million in CARES Act funding that CBITD recently received to support operating, administrative, and preventive maintenance costs.
This funding, which was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA), was provided through a section of the CARES Act Senator Collins authored that directed $48.5 billion to transportation and housing programs during the current public health and economic crisis.
“As the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I understand how vital investments in our nation’s transportation infrastructure are to our communities. Casco Bay Lines provides an indispensable service to those who live and work in our island communities, providing passenger, freight, and postal services, and transporting students to school and people to their jobs,” said Senator Collins. “This critical funding will help ensure that Casco Bay Lines continues to provide safe and reliable ferry services to passengers during this ongoing economic and public health crisis.”
“We are pleased to be receiving a portion of the CARES Act funds allocated to support transit in the Portland area,” said Hank Berg, General Manager of CBITD. “This second round of funding covers the period from July through December as we have continued to adapt our operations significantly in order to protect our crew and passengers while fulfilling our mission to provide service to the islands. We remain incredibly grateful for the Senator’s ongoing support.”
As the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins has championed funding to improve Maine’s infrastructure. In July, she helped to secure $3.2 million for Casco Bay Lines to purchase an electric-diesel hybrid propulsion system to power its soon-to-be constructed new vessel and $750,000 for research related to the design, construct, and operation of a new hybrid ferry and automated, rapid charging battery system. In 2016, Senator Collins announced a $2.5 million grant to fund Phase II of Casco Bay Lines’ terminal renovation. In 2018, Senator Collins helped Casco Bay Lines obtain a $6 million grant from FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program for the construction of a $10 million replacement vessel for its ferry service to Peaks Island. In 2019, she announced a $3.4 million grant to support Phase III of Casco Bay Lines’ project to renovate its terminal infrastructure.
Operating since 1981, CBITD provides year-round ferry service to six inhabited islands in Casco Bay. In a typical year, CBITD’s five ferries transport more than one million passengers, 30,000 vehicles, and 5,300 tons of freight annually.