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 $2,683,915 to support operating, administrative, and preventive maintenance costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This funding 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. The grant, which was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA), was included in the more than $83 million Senator Collins announced for Maine’s public transportation systems earlier this year.
“Casco Bay Lines provides an indispensable service to those who live and work in our island communities off the coast of Portland, providing passenger, freight, and postal services, and transporting students to high school and people to their jobs,” said Senator Collins. “This investment will help ensure that Casco Bay Lines continues to provide safe and reliable transportation to passengers during this unprecedented time. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I am working to secure the resources communities need to respond to the coronavirus.”
“We are pleased to be receiving a portion of the funds allocated to support transit in the Portland area,” said Hank Berg, General Manager of CBITD. “In response to COVID-19, we have adapted our operations significantly in order to protect our crew and passengers, and to continue to fulfill our mission to provide service to the islands. These adaptations have been costly and we couldn’t be more grateful for the Senator’s support.”
As the Chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins has championed funding to improve Maine’s infrastructure. 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.