WETA Wins $13.8 Million Grant to Electrify Ferry Facilities

San Francisco Bay Ferry

Published Apr 25, 2023 2:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), the agency that provides San Francisco Bay Ferry service, today announced that it had won a $13.8 million grant from the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) to electrify ferry terminals and facilities in San Francisco and the East Bay.

The grant will fund electric infrastructure and increased charging capacity to the Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal, the Main Street Alameda Ferry Terminal, and WETA’s Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility in Alameda. This project will allow WETA to operate zero-emission, electric ferries on San Francisco Bay Ferry’s routes connecting Oakland and Alameda to San Francisco.

“This grant allows WETA to move full-throttle toward converting San Francisco Bay Ferry service to zero emissions,” said Jim Wunderman, Chair of the WETA Board of Directors. “California and the Bay Area have an opportunity to lead the nation in the area of water transit decarbonization and with support like this from Governor Gavin Newsom, CalSTA Secretary Toks Omishakin, and the strong coalition of legislators and stakeholders who share our vision, we know it will happen.”

This grant, which was awarded through CalSTA’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP), is the latest in a series of grant awards that have been secured to support zero-emission San Francisco Bay Ferry service. CalSTA previously awarded $23.9 million to WETA for the creation of a new zero-emission ferry network connecting emerging San Francisco waterfront neighborhoods. In 2022, the U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded WETA $3.4 million for one of four vessels that will operate on that network. The first battery-electric service funded by these grants is anticipated for 2025.

Under the new grant, WETA and its shoreside electrification partners will upgrade electric capacity at the Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal, Main Street Alameda Ferry Terminal, and Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility to allow the charging of battery storage to be installed on revamped ferry floats. WETA is seeking FTA grants for charging equipment at the terminals. WETA will also leverage Regional Measure 3 funding to accelerate ferry decarbonization projects.

Today’s grant award is the first won by WETA that is focused on zero-emission transbay ferry service. San Francisco Bay Ferry carried 1.7 million passengers on transbay trips in 2022 on the nation’s cleanest high-speed, high-capacity fleet. Twelve of WETA’s current 16 ferries meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) highest Tier 4 emissions standards. WETA took delivery of the nation’s first Tier 4 high-speed ferry in 2017. 

WETA plans to build new high-capacity zero-emission ferries for transbay service as well as convert some existing vessels from diesel to battery electric in the coming years.
WETA is a regional public transit agency tasked with developing, operating and expanding ferry service on the San Francisco Bay and with coordinating the water transit response to regional emergencies. San Francisco Bay Ferry, a service of WETA, operates ferry routes connecting the cities of Alameda, Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, South San Francisco and Vallejo.

More information is available at https://sanfranciscobayferry.com/media-center.


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