Department Of Transportation News

20 Mar 2020

Staten Island Ferries: A "New York State of Mind"

The OLLIS Class: is a new class of vessels being built for Staten Island Ferries by Eastern Shipbuilding Group. Photos: Staten Island Ferries/ESG

It takes a thick skin to live in New York City, let alone to run its Staten Island Ferry service. James C. DeSimone, Deputy Commissioner, Ferry Division, New York City Department of Transportation, has been charged with running the ferry service for the last 16 years. We met with him for his insights on the challenges of keeping the iconic ferry running safely and efficiently.Jim DeSimone has led a maritime life, with his time equally split between the private and public sectors. His maritime affiliation is literally in his blood, as his father Guy J.

16 Mar 2020

The National Freight Strategic Plan and the Inland Waterways

© Gerard Corprew / Adobe Stock

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act was enacted in December 2015. The FAST Act required the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop a National Freight Strategic Plan to address multimodal freight transportation. In the Federal Register of December 27, 2019, DOT requested information from the public, including industry trade groups, to aid development of the National Freight Strategic Plan.This article summarizes certain of the comments that were submitted by Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Inc. (IRPT) in response to DOT’s request.

05 Mar 2020

MARAD to Award $9.5 Mln for Marine Highways

© Kevin / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration today announced the availability of $9.5 million in grant funding for the America’s Marine Highway Program (AMHP).“Marine highways are an efficient and cost-effective option for moving freight and passengers in America,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. The AMHP supports the increased use of the nation’s navigable waterways to relieve landside congestion, provides new and efficient transportation options, and increases the productivity of the surface transportation system.

02 Mar 2020

US Offering $225 Mln for Ports Infrastructure

©  Felix Mizioznikov / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to apply for $225 million in discretionary grant funding through the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP).“America’s ports are a critical part of the Nation’s multimodal transportation network and this Notice of Funding Opportunity provides guidance on how to apply for these grants,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.The Port Infrastructure Development Program supports U.S.

14 Feb 2020

US Ports Get More Than $280 Mln in MARAD Grants

© John McQuiston / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced that it has awarded more than $280 million in discretionary grant funding through the new Port Infrastructure Development Program. This funding is designed to improve port facilities at or near coastal seaports.The Port Infrastructure Development Program supports efforts by ports and industry stakeholders to improve facility and freight infrastructure to ensure our nation’s freight transportation needs, present and future, are met.

12 Feb 2020

Barges Break Free on the Mississippi

The Coast Guard and local agencies responded to a multi-barge breakaway in the vicinity of mile markers 176 and 177 on the Upper Mississippi River Wednesday, February 12, 2020. Multiple towing vessels in the area worked together to account for and secure all the loose barges. (Photo: USCG)

The U.S. Coast Guard and local agencies responded to a multi-barge breakaway in the vicinity of mile markers 176 and 177 on the Upper Mississippi River, Wednesday.Watchstanders at Sector Upper Mississippi River received the report at 3 a.m. that there was a multi-barge breakaway from a fleeting area on the Upper Mississippi River.Multiple towing vessels in the area worked together to account for and secure all the loose barges.The Coast Guard initially closed the river for the safety of those on the waterway…

12 Feb 2020

WCI's Toohey Announces Retirement

Michael Toohey (Photo: WCI)

Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) President and CEO Michael J. Toohey has revealed plans to retire, the group announced to its Board of Directors and members at its meeting in Washington, DC on Wednesday.“Having turned 71 this month, I believe it is time to focus on my faith, family, my golf handicap and my other interests,” Toohey said. “I remain committed to WCI’s continued achievement now and in the future once a successor is named.”WCI’s Executive Committee will select an executive search firm to begin the process to seek a successor.

28 Jan 2020

Profiles in Training: Staten Island Ferries

James C. DeSimone, Deputy Commissioner, Ferry Division, New York City Department of Transportation. Photo: Greg Trauthwein

When James C. DeSimone, Deputy Commissioner, Ferry Division, New York City Department of Transportation, signed on to run the Staten Island Ferries in 2003, the organization was still in the aftermath of one of the most significant accidents in its history: the ferry Andrew J. Barberi allision of October 2003, an accident which included a number of fatalities and serious injuries. DeSimone, who had long-tenures in both the commercial and public end of the marine business, brought a unique perspective to the organization.“For the city to go outside the system to hire (me) was huge…

27 Jan 2020

Red and White and Green All Over

Enhydra is Red and White Fleet’s first step toward its goal of reaching a zero emissions fleet by 2025. (Photo: Red and White Fleet)

INSIGHTS: Thomas C. Escher, Chairman, Red and White FleetIn 1960, Tom Escher, the grandson of the founder and now the current owner, started working as a sweeper and a mechanics helper on the Red and White vessels. In 1997, Escher purchased the Red and White Fleet, becoming the third generation of the family to own and operate the business. In September 2018, Red and White Fleet welcomed Enhydra, the newest and largest addition to the fleet. Enhydra is the first 600-passenger hybrid-drive vessel operating in the United States.

08 Jan 2020

US to Invest in Marine Highways

Photo: U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao

The US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has will invest $7.5 million in nine Marine Highway projects as it looks to make the movement of cargo and people at sea and on land more efficient.The funding, provided by MARAD’s America’s Marine Highway Program, will go towards enhancing existing services in Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.“This $7.5 million investment will improve our country’s vital fuel-efficient waterway transportation system…

06 Jan 2020

MARAD Awards Marine Highways Grants

© vitec40 / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) on Monday announced more than $7.5 million in grants to nine Marine Highway projects. The funding, provided by MARAD’s America’s Marine Highway Program, will go toward enhancing existing services in Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington“This $7.5 million investment will improve our country’s vital fuel-efficient waterway transportation system, which makes an important contribution to exports and economic growth,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L.

30 Dec 2019

OSG Acquires Alaska Tanker

Image: Overseas Shipholding Group

Overseas Shipholding Group, the tanker company providing energy transportation services for crude oil and petroleum products in the U.S. Flag markets, has entered into agreements with BP Oil Shipping Company USA and BP AMI Leasing to purchase the crude oil carrier vessels operated by Alaska Tanker Company (ATC).OSG currently owns a 37.5% interest in ATC. As part of the above transaction, OSG will acquire the remaining 62.5% interest of ATC that it does not own.According to the publicly traded tanker company…

13 Dec 2019

Offshore Wind: Decisions Needed Sooner, not Later

AOT is working to develop a new port, specifically configured to serve Atlantic Ocean wind projects, on 30 acres along the Arthur Kill tidal strait between Staten Island and New Jersey. 
Boone Davis, President & CEO, Atlantic Offshore Terminals

On September 26, the State University of New York Maritime College hosted a conference on the emerging east coast offshore wind industry. “Offshore Wind Power, Planning for America’s Ocean Energy” focused on four fundamental topics:• East Coast Wind Farm Overview – Status of the Industry.• Jobs and Supply Chain Technical Working Group.• Wind Farm Port Development.• Offshore Wind Maritime Operations.In some ways, actually clocking in for a day’s work on an offshore wind turbine is tantalizingly close. Ditto for power flowing from an offshore substation to a mainland interconnection.

24 Nov 2019

JaxPort Break Ground on Container Terminal

Photo: Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT)

U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator Rear Adm. Mark Buzby joined elected officials and leadership from Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) and SSA Marine on Nov. 22 to break ground on a new state-of-the-art international container terminal at JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal.The SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal is an expansion of SSA’s current leasehold at Blount Island and includes $238.7 million in infrastructure and equipment upgrades. Operations will continue throughout the redevelopment…

22 Nov 2019

$20m Infrastructure Investment in Jacksonville

Photo: U.S. Department of Transportation
Maritime Administration

U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration Administrator, Admiral Mark Buzby formally presented a check for $20 million to Jacksonville for the International Cargo Terminal Modernization Project. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao has announced that the Trump Administration will invest $900 million in American infrastructure through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program. “The Administration is targeting BUILD Transportation grants to repair…

20 Nov 2019

ESG Launches NYCDOT Ferry

Photo: ESG

On Friday, November 15, 2019, Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. (ESG) launched the SSG MICHAEL H. OLLIS (Hull 219) the first of three new Staten Island “Ollis Class” Ferries for the City of New York Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Staten Island Ferry Division. The launch took place at Eastern’s Allanton facility in Panama City, Florida with special attendance by Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis.The new Staten Island Ollis Class Ferries series are named after fallen soldier of the US Army 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, 'Climb to Glory', Army Staff Sgt. Michael H.

01 Nov 2019

AAPA Says Senate Cuts Key Port Grant Program

Chris Connor. Photo: AAPA

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) is very concerned with the U.S. Senate’s approval of a fiscal 2020 appropriations bill that cuts funding by more than two-thirds to a U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) program that provides critical grants for port infrastructure projects nationwide.MARAD’s Port Infrastructure Development Program, initiated last year and funded at $292.73 million, would be slashed to $91.6 million if the Senate’s appropriation mark is upheld in the final bill.Not only would funding for the program be severely cut…

25 Oct 2019

Great Lakes Seaway Shipping Highlights Economic Impact

Stakeholders met with Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) officials, Deputy Commissioner Susan Mulvihill, Deputy Commissioner Scott Peterson, and Bill Gardner, Director of Freight, Railroads & Waterways Department of Transportation.

The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership hosted Capitol Day in St. Paul, Minnesota yesterday to meet with Governor Tim Walz and other key legislators to share insights on the critical role of the Great Lakes Seaway system in maintaining a vibrant regional, national and global economy.“Commercial navigation on the Great Lakes Seaway system is an economic driver — both broadly in the United States and Canada — but, especially, in Minnesota. More cargo moves in-and-out through Minnesota ports than any other Great Lakes state and supports over 6…

25 Oct 2019

JAXPORT Sets Cargo Records

Photo: JAXPORT

Florida’s largest container port achieved record volumes in containers, vehicles and overall tonnage during the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019.The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) moved more than 1.338 million twenty-foot equivalent units (or TEUs, the industry standard for measuring containers), a 5 percent increase over 2018, which was also a record year in container volumes for the port. JAXPORT has set container volume records for four consecutive years.The port also moved the most vehicles in its history…

23 Oct 2019

Washington Gets Funds for Green Ferries

Image: WSDOT

Washington State Ferries will begin the process of converting three Jumbo Mark II vessels from diesel to hybrid-electric power.The government agency that operates automobile and passenger ferry service in the U.S. state of Washington as part of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced Tuesday the state will receive $35 million from the federal Volkswagen settlement to retrofit the Tacoma, Wenatchee and Puyallup.The ferry system is the largest consumer of diesel fuel in the state with over 18 million gallons of diesel burned each year…

16 Oct 2019

New Hybrid-Electric Ferry Program for WSF

Photo courtesy of Vigor

Dignitaries from the state of Washington joined Governor Jay Inslee, Washington State Ferries officials and Vigor employees at Vigor’s Seattle shipyard to celebrate the beginning of the greening of WSF’s fleet. Speakers included Governor Inslee, Roger Millar, Secretary of Transportation for Washington State Department of Transportation, and Vigor CEO Frank Foti. The ceremony concluded with a dedication of a sign marking the construction site of the Program.Earlier in the year Washington’s legislature authorized a contract extension for Vigor to build up to five 144-car Olympic class…

04 Oct 2019

TSGI Wins TxDOT Ferry Service Contract

Photo: TSGI

In 2017, The Shearer Group, Inc. (TSGI) was awarded a five-year Indefinite Deliverable contract with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). TSGI was tasked to provide the detail design of a double-ended diesel-electric ferry with energy storage capable of carrying construction 495 passengers / 70 cars, providing service from Galveston Island to Bolivar Peninsula. The ferry is currently being built at Gulf Island Shipyard in Jennings, Louisiana. TSGI will provide construction…

10 Sep 2019

WSF, Vigor Launch Hybrid-Electric Ferry Build Program

Vigor Industrial and Washington State Ferries launched WSF’s new hybrid-electric ferries program in a ceremony held at Vigor’s Seattle, Washington shipyard held September 9. (Photo: Vigor Industrial LLC)

Dignitaries from the State of Washington joined Governor Jay Inslee, Washington State Ferries officials and Vigor Industrial employees yesterday (September 9) at Vigor’s Seattle, Washington shipyard to celebrate the launch of a new hybrid-electric ferry build program for the ferry operator. Speakers included Washington State Governor Jay Inslee; Roger Millar, Secretary of Transportation for Washington State Department of Transportation; and Vigor’s CEO, Frank Foti. The ceremony concluded with a dedication of a sign marking program’s construction site.Earlier this year…

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