WETA Awarded Grant to Build All-Electric Ferry
SAN FRANCISCO | April 21, 2020 – The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) today announced that it has been awarded a $9 million grant from the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) to build an all-electric passenger ferry to serve the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco.
The grant, awarded through CalSTA’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, will fund the design and construction of both the battery-electric zero-emission ferry as well as the shoreside charging infrastructure required to operate the vessel. This ferry will be WETA’s first all-electric vessel. The agency plans to have the vessel built and in service by 2022.
“This grant is a huge win for Mission Bay, San Francisco, and the entire Bay Area,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). “As a strong believer in the promise of ferries, I am thrilled to see us test zero-emission vessel technology here at home and set a new standard for the world.”
WETA is working with the Port of San Francisco to fund and build the Mission Bay Ferry Landing, which will be served by this new all-electric ferry. Earlier this year, the WETA Board of Directors approved $25 million in Regional Measure 3 toll revenues for construction of the ferry terminal. The terminal is expected to be completed in 2022.
More than 3 million passengers rode WETA’s San Francisco Bay Ferry service in 2019. WETA has delivered seven new ferries with a combined 2,935 seats since 2017, with two more vessels under construction.
“This grant award helps WETA achieve two of our key priorities: serve the jobs-rich Mission Bay neighborhood and move toward a zero-emission fleet,” said WETA Board of Directors Chair Jim Wunderman. “What a thrill it is to be able to achieve both goals with a single project.”
The concept for Mission Bay ferry service is to provide a ferry shuttle from the Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal to the new landing in Mission Bay. Under this concept, ferry commuters from Vallejo, Richmond, Alameda and Oakland would be able to transfer to a Mission Bay ferry at the Downtown S.F. terminal. The service concept calls for peak commuter period service as well as service for events at Chase Center, including Golden State Warriors games.
With the help of marine engineers, WETA has explored alternative propulsion systems in recent years and found that battery technology currently limits the viability of high-speed, longer distance ferry service. The short distance between Downtown S.F. and Mission Bay allows a battery-electric ferry to be viable.
“We think this is perfect application of available electric propulsion technology to allow WETA to push the envelope on emissions reductions further,” said Nina Rannells, WETA’s executive director. “Thank you to CalSTA Secretary David Kim, Assemblyman Chiu, the Port of San Francisco and all of our partners for their help in securing this funding.”