WETA Awarded Grant to Build Electric Ferry

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) today announced that it has been awarded $3.4 million by the U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to build a zero-emission, electric ferry to connect San Francisco’s growing Treasure Island and Mission Bay neighborhoods.

San Francisco Bay Ferry ZeroInvestment in bringing zero-emission ferry technology to the San Francisco Bay was supported by a broad coalition including several members of the Bay Area Congressional Delegation, led by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Thanks to President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg, this new $3.4 million investment will bolster the Bay Area ferry system and improve service for the commuters, visitors and families who depend on WETA for safe, reliable travel every day,” Speaker Pelosi said. “With this new funding, WETA will be able to deploy a new zero emission ferry, which will offer easier commutes for workers, ease congestion on our streets and ensure cleaner air for our communities. As a proud representative for San Francisco, it was my privilege to fight for this federal investment – and Democrats will not relent until we deliver clean, convenient transportation options to every family across the nation.”

The grant will support a new network of zero-emission, short-hop ferry services along San Francisco’s waterfront. This network will help address local and regional traffic congestion by providing some of the city’s fastest growing neighborhoods with a new mobility alternative, and seamlessly connecting other San Francisco Bay Ferry routes to these job-rich neighborhoods that are otherwise difficult to access via transit.  

“Mission Bay and Treasure Island are rapidly growing, and both have transportation challenges,” said Jim Wunderman, Chair of the WETA Board of Directors. “This grant helps provide a solution to those challenges, and at the same time advances WETA’s transition to zero-emissions technology. We are very grateful to the Biden Administration, the FTA, our partners at the Port of San Francisco and San Francisco County Transportation Authority, and our Bay Area Congressional delegation led by Speaker Pelosi.”

Mission Bay, on San Francisco’s eastern waterfront is the home of Chase Center, a major UCSF medical campus and a growing number of employers and residential development. The electric vessel will operate to a new Mission Bay Ferry Terminal that is expected to be complete as early as 2025. In the meantime, the vessel will serve a temporary terminal at Pier 48 ½, where WETA currently provides San Francisco Bay Ferry special event service for home Golden State Warriors games.

“Decarbonizing our transit fleet will be key to reaching San Francisco's bold climate action goal of net-zero emissions by 2040,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, Chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which serves as San Francisco’s Congestion Management Agency. “We are grateful to the FTA and Speaker Pelosi for their support, and excited to help WETA demonstrate the mobility, air quality, and resilience benefits that a clean ferry network can offer.”

The vessel will also serve Treasure Island, where 8,000 residential units are planned, with a quarter below market rate. This grant award will make convenient, speedy zero-emission transit to Downtown San Francisco and Mission Bay possible for current and future Treasure Island residents.

“We are delighted and grateful to the FTA and WETA for their partnership in showcasing zero-emission ferry transportation to support sustainable development of Treasure Island,” said Supervisor Matt Haney, Chair of the Treasure Island Mobility Management Agency, charged with delivering a robust congestion management program for Treasure Island. “This clean ferry grant will help realize our shared San Francisco and Bay Area vision for next-generation mobility, through this popular, fun, and green transit option.”

The vessel is one of four that will operate as a part of this new service. In 2020, WETA received a $9 million grant from the California State Transportation Agency to build a battery-electric ferry along with shoreside charging infrastructure. WETA will be seeking future grant funding for the two additional zero-emission ferries and corresponding charging infrastructure.

“The Port of San Francisco is excited to welcome more ferry service connecting people, neighborhoods and jobs,” said Elaine Forbes, Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco. “Electric ferry service is especially welcome as we seek to continue to expand green transportation options as we work to address climate change.”

Design and construction on the vessel made possible through the new FTA grant will begin in the coming months. WETA’s first zero-emission ferry is expected to enter service in 2024.

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