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Biden Infrastructure Bill Provides Metro With $5M to Renovate Avalon Ferry

January 26, 2023

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will receive funding to renovate the City of Avalon Cabrillo Mole Ferry Intermodal terminal, including raising the building, to support electric ferries and climate resiliency. LA Metro is planning for the ferry terminal, located on Santa Catalina Island, to continue to provide reliable and frequent ferry service for at least the next 50 years.

Today, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is applauded the $5 million federal grant toward improving the Cabrillo Mole Ferry Terminal in Avalon on Catalina Island. The ferry terminal has long needed upgrades and repairs and Hahn advocated strongly for the project to receive federal funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“This ferry terminal is a lifeline for the island,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “The ferry is the only public transportation to and from the island for residents and commuters and this terminal is in dire need of repair and upgrades. I thank the President and Secretary Buttigieg for recognizing the importance of this project and providing this critical funding for our region.”

The Cabrillo Mole Intermodal Ferry Terminal project is designed to expand the existing ferry terminal in Avalon and improve resilience to climate change by adding project components to address sea level rise. The Cabrillo Mole Intermodal Center handles over one million passengers annually traveling to Avalon from San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach and Dana Point.

“Improving our ferry terminal is so important as it is our visitor’s first impression of Avalon and our residents deserve a facility of which they can be proud,” said Avalon Mayor Anni Marshall. “On behalf of the City, I thank all Agencies involved in providing this substantial grant.”

The existing facility was constructed in 1968 and can no longer accommodate the number of ferry passengers it receives. The new terminal expansion and construction adjustments are to prepare for the next 25 years of predicted sea level rise and will provide accessible passenger facilities, improve safety and security, improve pedestrian circulation, and enhance the overall user experience.

The money is part of $384.4 million in federal funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for expanding and improving the nation’s ferry service in communities across the country, as well as accelerate the transition to zero emission transportation. This funding will benefit millions of Americans – from Alaska to Michigan to Maryland – who depend on coastal waters, rivers, bays, and other bodies of water to connect to their communities.

In total, FTA is awarding 23 grants across 11 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Grants will fund projects including replacement of old vessels, expand fleets, and build new terminals and docks. For the state of Alaska, the award means nearly $286 million of investment in the Alaska Marine Highway, which serves remote locations throughout the state. Nearly $100 million of the national grants will go toward low- and no-emission ferries, helping decrease greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. See the full list of grants here.

“With these grants, we are improving and expanding ferry service in the communities that rely on waterways the most—often in more rural, remote regions—connecting people to jobs, services, and city centers while cutting climate pollution,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.  

The funding, made available through three FTA competitive grant programs, will boost ferry service in rural areas, modernize urban ferry systems, and lower emissions by speeding adoption of zero-emission technology.