To promote secure ferry transportation and for other purposes.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 12, 2011
Mrs. MURRAY (for herself, Ms. MURKOWSKI, Ms. CANTWELL, and Mr. BEGICH)
introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to
the Committee on Environment and Public Works
To promote secure ferry transportation and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLES.
This Act may be cited as the `United States Ferry Systems Investment
Act of 2011'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) Ferries are a vital part of the United States transportation system,
transporting more than 100,000,000 passengers annually in at least
(2) In many congested metropolitan areas, ferries are 1 of the few
remaining options for significant transportation capacity expansion.
(3) Ferries are the sole or primary transportation connection for
many island and isolated communities.
(4) Ferries provide a critical emergency evacuation alternative for
both large cities and remote locations.
(5) Ferries can be part of an interim solution when transportation
infrastructure fails, for example after the terrorist attacks in New
York on September 11, 2001, disrupted train service and after part
of the San Francisco Bay Bridge collapsed in the Loma Prieta earthquake,
ferries were used to provide interim transportation.
(6) Ferries offer a relatively energy-efficient, environmentally friendly,
and low-stress mode of travel.
(7) Almost all of the largest and important ferry services are publicly
owned or provide transportation at public terminals, are integrated
with other transportation modes, and are operated in a manner to serve
the public interest.
(8) According to the Secretary of Transportation, nearly 25 percent
of United States ferries are at least 40 years old and 5 percent of
United States ferries are at least 60 years old.
(9) Federal investment in the United States ferry system is necessary
(A) ferries play a unique and important role in the United States
(B) there is a large and growing need for new and replacement ferry
vessels and terminals; and
(C) ferries do not fit neatly into other Federal, mode-specific
(10) The distribution of Federal ferry funds by formula is appropriate
because this method of distribution would dedicate more funding to
the largest and most important public ferry systems.
(11) The distribution of Federal ferry funds by discretionary awards
is also appropriate because this method of distribution would help
initiate and expand ferry services throughout the United States.
SEC. 3. SECRETARY DEFINED.
In this Act, the term `Secretary' means the Secretary of Transportation.
SEC. 4. CONSTRUCTION OF FERRY BOATS AND FERRY TERMINAL FACILITIES.
Section 147 of title 23, United States Code, is amended by striking
subsections (c), (d), and (e) and inserting the following:
`(c) Distribution of Funds- Of the amounts made available to ferry systems
and public entities responsible for developing ferries under this section
in a fiscal year--
`(1) 50 percent shall be allocated at the discretion of the Secretary;
`(2) 50 percent shall be allocated in accordance with the formula
set forth in subsection (d).
`(d) Formula- Of the amounts allocated pursuant to subsection (c)(2)--
`(1) 50 percent shall be allocated among eligible entities in the
`(A) the number of ferry passengers carried by each ferry system
in the most recent fiscal year; bears to
`(B) the number of ferry passengers carried by all ferry systems
in the most recent fiscal year;
`(2) 25 percent shall be allocated among eligible entities in the
`(A) the number of vehicles carried by each ferry system in the
most recent fiscal year; bears to
`(B) the number of vehicles carried by all ferry systems in the
most recent fiscal year; and
`(3) 25 percent shall be allocated among eligible entities in the
`(A) the total route miles serviced by each ferry system; bears
`(B) the total route miles serviced by all ferry systems.
`(1) IN GENERAL- There shall be available to the Secretary from the
Highway Trust Fund (other than the Mass Transit Account) $200,000,000
for each of the fiscal years 2012 through 2018 to carry out this section.
`(2) PERIOD OF AVAILABILITY- Notwithstanding section 118(b), amounts
made available to carry out this section shall remain available until
SEC. 5. ELIGIBILITY OF FERRIES FOR CLEAN FUELS GRANT PROGRAM.
Section 5308 of title 49, United States Code, is amended--
(1) in subsection (a)(2)--
(A) in clause (i), by inserting `, or ferries' before the semicolon
at the end; and
(B) in clause (iii), by inserting `or ferries' before the semicolon
at the end; and
(A) in the subsection heading, by inserting `and Ferries' after
(B) by inserting `or ferries' before the period at the end.
SEC. 6. FERRY JOINT PROGRAM OFFICE.
(a) Establishment and Purpose-
(1) ESTABLISHMENT- The Secretary shall establish within the Department
of Transportation a Ferry Joint Program Office (referred to in this
section as the `Office') for the purposes described in paragraph (2).
(2) PURPOSES- The purposes of the Office shall be--
(A) to coordinate Federal programs affecting ferry and ferry facility
construction, maintenance, operations, and security; and
(B) to promote transportation by ferry as a component of the United
States transportation system.
(b) Functions- The head of the Office shall--
(1) coordinate programs related to ferry transportation carried out
(A) the Department of Transportation, including programs carried
out by the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration,
the Maritime Administration, and the Research and Innovative Technology
(B) the Department of Homeland Security; and
(C) other Federal and State agencies, as appropriate;
(2) ensure resource accountability for programs carried out by the
Secretary related to ferry transportation;
(3) provide strategic leadership for research, development, testing,
and deployment of technologies related to ferry transportation;
(4) promote ferry transportation as a means to reduce social, economic,
and environmental costs associated with traffic congestion; and
(5) develop energy efficient operating models to reduce carbon emissions
associated with ferry transportation.
SEC. 7. NATIONAL FERRY DATABASE.
Section 1801(e) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation
Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (Public Law 109-59; 23 U.S.C. 129 note)
(1) in paragraph (2), by inserting `, including any Federal, State,
and local government funding sources' after `sources'; and
(A) in subparagraph (B), by striking `and' at the end;
(B) by redesignating subparagraph (C) as subparagraph (D);
(C) by inserting after subparagraph (B), the following:
`(C) ensure that the database is consistent with the national transit
database maintained by the Federal Transit Administration'; and
(D) in subparagraph (D), as redesignated, by striking `2009' and
SEC. 8. NATIONAL FERRY TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE.
(a) Establishment- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment
of this Act, the Secretary shall award a grant to a college to establish
a National Ferry Transportation Institute (referred to in this section
as an `Institute') at the college.
(b) Administration- The Secretary shall award and administer the grant
under subsection (a) in cooperation with the heads of appropriate entities
of the Department of Transportation and of the appropriate State transportation
department, public ferry transportation authorities, private ferry operators,
ferry builders, ferry transportation employees, and other colleges,
universities, and research institutes.
(c) Functions- The Institute--
(1) shall conduct research and recommend development activities on
methods of improving ferry transportation programs in the United States,
including methods of reducing wake, providing alternative propulsion,
integrating use of clean, renewable fuels, and testing advanced materials
for use in ferry construction;
(2) shall develop and conduct training programs for ferry transportation
system employees, United States Government employees, and other individuals,
as appropriate, on developments, techniques, and procedures pertaining
to the construction and operation of ferries;
(3) shall encourage and assist collaborative efforts by public and
private entities to preserve, improve, and expand the use of ferries
as a mode of transportation;
(4) shall preserve, utilize, and display historical information about
the use of ferry transportation in the United States and in foreign
(5) shall develop models and recommendations to enhance security on
ferries and in and around ferry facilities; and
(6) may provide funds from a grant under subsection (a) to a contractor
or other entity to assist the Institute in carrying out the functions
described in paragraphs (1) through (5).
(d) Selection Criteria- In awarding the grant under subsection (a),
the Secretary shall consider--
(1) the extent to which the needs of the State in which the applicant
is located are representative of the importance of public and private
ferries to the region's transportation system, including regional
travel and long-range travel and service to isolated communities;
(2) the historical importance of ferry transportation to the region
in which the applicant is located;
(3) the history and diversity of the region in the maritime community,
including ferry construction and repair and other shipbuilding activities;
(4) the anticipated growth of ferry transportation and the building
of ferries in the region;
(5) the availability of public-private collaboration in the region;
(6) the demonstrated research and extension resources available to
the applicant to successfully carry out the functions described in
(e) Requirement for Non-Federal Funding- A college may not receive the
grant under subsection (a) unless the college certifies that it will
provide, from non-Federal sources, 25 percent of the costs associated
with establishing, operating, and maintaining the Institute, including
carrying out the research and development activities of the Institute.
(f) Report- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of
this Act, and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit a report
to Congress that describes activities carried out under this section,
including the activities carried out by the Institute.
(g) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated
to the Secretary $5,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2012 through
2018 to carry out this section.