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Federal Grant Awarded to Hingham Ferry Dock Upgrades South of Boston

Thu March 02, 2023 - Northeast Edition #6
Hingham Anchor & MBTA

The existing floating dock and access gangways will be upgraded to improve rider experience and bring them into compliance with updated accessibility standards. (Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority)
The existing floating dock and access gangways will be upgraded to improve rider experience and bring them into compliance with updated accessibility standards. (Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority)

A $6.6 million Federal Transit Authority (FTA) grant recently was awarded to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) for capital improvements to the ferry dock at the Hingham Shipyard, southeast of Boston.

The ferry provides a key service link between the South Shore communities along Boston Harbor, and Massachusetts' largest city.

The Hingham Anchor reported the money will be used to modernize the dock, improve its safety and accessibility, and bring the facility into a state of good repair while enhancing the experience of commuters and improving the reliability and resiliency of the popular mode of transportation.

"This is a significant amount of money to invest in the ferry dock, especially when a few years ago [state] Rep. Joan Meschino and I were on a call with the MBTA talking about potentially reducing or removing ferry service [from the Shipyard]," Sen. Patrick O'Connor told the Anchor. "This grant shows us how far we have come."

He noted that the ferry provided service to more than half-million passengers annually before the COVID-19 pandemic, "and the number of riders is starting to pick up again."

Important Ferry Dock to Be Completely Modernized

The construction and rehabilitation project at the Hingham Shipyard will replace the existing dock with one that is permanent and will include a fully accessible and covered gangway and canopy. In addition, lighting, safety and security systems will all be upgraded, and a generator will be installed to supply full backup power to the dock and the nearby Hingham Intermodal Center during power outages.

MBTA said the design work for the ferry dock project is expected to be complete by the end of 2023, with construction slated to begin in 2024.

"This will be a state-of-the art project that will enhance the experience for commuters who take the ferry [to Boston for] work or for fun," explained O'Connor. "Using federal dollars to make these repairs is a great opportunity, [and] this investment in the Hingham dock will benefit all the South Shore commuters who use this service."

The funding comes as part of the FTA's Fiscal 2022 Passenger Ferry Grant Program, which commits to enhancing and revitalizing public ferry systems in the nation's urbanized areas. The federal agency awarded more than $380 million in competitive funding to ferry projects through three discretionary grant programs, with the MBTA receiving the passenger ferry program's largest award in the nation.

"We are thrilled to be awarded this grant for capital improvements to the Hingham ferry dock, which furthers our commitment to improving passenger safety and maintaining a state of good repair across our system," MBTA Interim General Manager Jeffrey Gonneville told the Anchor. "This funding is the result of the MBTA's aggressive strategy in seeking federal discretionary funds and also serves as a critical component of our wider efforts to ensure our system maintains our priority of safety."

The Hingham news source noted that MBTA is building the new dock to not only increase the capacity of the South Shore ferry service but make it more resilient against severe weather and climate change.

As the work gets under way, commuters will be able to see firsthand "in a transparent manner how these resources will be used to make the experience better for all involved," O'Connor said.

"I'm so happy this project is moving forward," he added. "It's a great kick-start to the new year, with the hope of bringing more state and federal funding resources to the South Shore in the future."

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