Senator Collins Announces $750,000 for Casco Bay Lines to Research Hybrid Ferry Engines

Earlier this week, Senator Collins announced $3.2 Million for Casco Bay Lines to purchase an electric-diesel hybrid propulsion system for the new ferry

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the Casco Bay Island Transit District (CBITD) has been awarded an additional $750,000 for research related to the design, construct, and operation of a new hybrid ferry and automated, rapid charging battery system.  Earlier this week, Casco Bay Lines was  awarded more than $3.2 million to purchase an electric-diesel hybrid propulsion system to power its soon-to-be constructed new vessel.  With this new funding, Casco Bay Lines will work with the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) to assess efficiency data and lessons learnt from the new hybrid engine and battery charging systems.


“For more than 40 years, Casco Bay Lines has been dedicated to providing safe and reliable transportation for those who live and work in our island communities off the coast of Portland,” said Senators Collins in a statement.  “This investment will help ensure that Casco Bay Lines continues to serve as a critical component of our state’s transportation system, allowing Mainers to access these beautiful islands, while also pioneering environmentally friendly, cutting-edge engine technology.”


“This is the final piece of funding necessary to move forward with the diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system,” said Hank Berg, General Manager of CBITD. “We continue to be incredibly grateful to Senator Collins for her support of this project and look forward to working with MARAD to fully realize the benefits of this technology for CBITD, our riders and all of Casco Bay.”


Casco Bay Lines estimates that the diesel electric hybrid propulsion system will allow them to eliminate up to 800 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, while also reducing exhaust fumes, excessive engine noise, and vibrations common on existing vessels. 


This funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) Program. As Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins has championed funding for the META program in the annual Transportation Appropriations bill.


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.




As the Chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins has championed funding to improve Maine’s infrastructure.  Earlier this month, Casco Bay Lines was awarded more than $2.6 million through a section of the CARES Act Senator Collins authored that directed more than $83 million for Maine’s public transportation systems earlier this year.  


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.