Senator Charles Schumer has asked the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to prioritize funding to bring the East River Ferry to Astoria, the Upper East Side and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
“The East River Ferry expansion project can become a ‘Nerd Boat’ that connects our rapidly-expanding tech hubs like Dumbo and the Brooklyn Navy Yard with the new Cornell-NYC’s applied science campus,” said Schumer. “It will also maximize ferry use throughout the city and better connect these waterfront neighborhoods to public transportation, benefitting the local economy.”
The East River Ferry expansion is one of five New York City projects that Schumer is singling out for a chunk of $1 billion in transit funds allocated to New York in this year’s Federal Transportation Bill. The FHA and DOT have final say on which projects will receive the funding.
If they pick the East River Ferry expansion, additional services will reach Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hallets Point in Astoria and the Upper East Side. The expansion also entails a new ferry to Roosevelt Island to accommodate students at Cornell’s applied science campus.
Schumer said private developers are planning to build nearly 4,000 housing units on Hallets Point’s waterfront in 2015. He added that expanding the ferry service would benefit the new residents.
The East River Ferry pilot program began in June 2011 and has since served over 1.7 million commuters. The ferry currently transports almost 150 passengers per trip connecting Manhattan with Long Island City, Brooklyn and Governors Island.
Recently, there had been a push to move the service from Hunters Point in Long island City to Gantry Plaza State Park.
Schumer is also pushing to get funding for projects including the Lower East Side/Brooklyn Greenway expansion, construction on the Cross Bronx Service Roads, HOV extensions on the Long Island Expressway and expansion of underground rail tunnels to Grand Central Terminal.