New York area commuters will soon benefit from direct ferry service between Elizabeth, NJ, and lower Manhattan thanks to a $9.5 million federal grant awarded to County of Union, Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta said.
The Elizabeth ferry project will contribute to the expansion and improvement of transportation services to Lower Manhattan by providing a much needed link for Manhattan residents who work in the rapidly growing Elizabeth area.
Noting that ferry service to Manhattan provided a vital transportation link for New York City area commuters following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Secretary Mineta said, "This grant gets us another step closer to a full recovery in Lower Manhattan."
“The President has made a priority of rebuilding New York’s transit systems affected by the terrorist attacks," said Federal Transit Administrator Jennifer L. Dorn. "Today we again deliver on that promise by connecting workers to jobs, shoppers to retail, families to homes, and peace of mind to countless concerned commuters.”
Elizabeth Ferry operations are expected to begin by June 2006, with direct trips to lower Manhattan every 30 minutes during morning and evening rush hour, then hourly during off-peak times. The 25-minute trip will provide regional travelers with a relatively shorter and convenient travel option and ease traffic congestion along the New Jersey Turnpike.
Money will fund construction of a new ferry terminal and two new docks located on the eastern edge of the City of Elizabeth known as Elizabethport. The terminal’s amenities include restrooms, ticketing and waiting areas, and a parking facility with approximately 815 spaces. By 2010, the ferry is expected to serve 1,192 daily riders.
Ferry service proved crucial in the evacuation of lower Manhattan during the 9/11 attacks and during a major blackout in August 2003. It also served as a vital alternate mode of transportation during the shutdown of the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) downtown line from September 2001 through November 2003. With this grant, the Bush Administration has awarded nearly $90 million in funding so far, out of a total commitment of $100 million in emergency recovery support appropriated for ferry related projects in the New York area. It is part of the $4.5 billion in transit capital construction funding appropriated by Congress for the recovery of Lower Manhattan following 9/11.