SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District has received a $5.9-million grant from the Federal Transit Administration for a new high-speed ferry.
The ferry will enhance service reliability for the district's 2.5 million annual ferry riders.
The $5.9 million will comprise about 20 percent of the 500-passenger ferry's $30 million cost. The district has applied for another federal grant of $18 million, and the new ferry is expected to be in service by early 2023.
Golden Gate Ferry trips have increased 34 percent since 2008, and they now serve 8,500 daily riders, 80 percent of them local commuters who might otherwise drive U.S. Highway 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge, according to the district.
The new high-speed ferry will be the eighth ferry in the district's fleet. All seven current ferries are in use during summer, which stretches the ability to perform routine maintenance and challenges daily reliability of Golden Gate Ferry service, according to the district.
Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, said the additional high-speed ferry will provide North Bay commuters with reliable transit options to San Francisco when Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit extends its line to Larkspur soon.
"Our ferries and buses remove 20 percent of commute hour traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge, and a new high-speed ferry will help us maintain and enhance the quality service our riders have come to expect," district general manager Denis Mulligan said.
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