Ferry Short Takes

Senators Express Support for Ferries: Seven U.S. senators have written a letter urging expanded funding for the nation's public ferry system.


Published: September, 2019

Senators Express Support for Ferries: Seven U.S. senators have written a letter urging expanded funding for the nation’s public ferry system. California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris are among those who signed the letter, which was sent to heads of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. The writers note that public ferries carry more than 100 million passengers annually in 38 states and territories, reducing traffic congestion; providing important access to schools, jobs and medical treatment; and providing critical response in emergencies. While the FAST Act of 2015 authorized $110 million a year for ferry programs, the letter states that amount is “far short” of what’s needed for new construction, modernization and repair. “State and local governments are doing their part . . . but they are looking to the federal government to be an active partner in helping to address critical ferry needs.” 

And Speaking of Federal Funds: The U.S. Transportation Department announced $32.8 million in grants for ferry service at nine transit agencies, including $5.9 million for the Golden Gate Transit District to buy a new boat. “America’s waterways are a priceless asset, and the Passenger Ferry Grant Program partners with local communities to leverage those assets to improve mobility for millions of Americans,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. 

RM3 Case Nears Appeal: As expected, the plaintiffs’ attorney has filed a motion to consolidate the appeals for separate lawsuits filed against Regional Measure 3 by East Bay businessman Randall Whitney and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Both suits claim that a series of three $1 toll hikes approved by voters last year for Bay Area bridges are in fact illegal under Proposition 13, which requires a two-thirds vote for tax increases. The lawsuits have each been dismissed by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan P. Schulman and now are wending their way to appeal as one combined suit. “I’m conscientiously trying to do what I can to expedite a decision,” said Jarvis Director of Legal Affairs Timothy Bittle. 

SFBF Pet Policy: San Francisco Bay Ferry wants to ensure all passengers understand the policy for bringing animals aboard. Pets—including comfort animals and emotional support animals—can only be brought aboard San Francisco Bay Ferry vessels if they are within an enclosed carrier that can fit on your lap and they do not pose a threat to passengers or crew members. Trained service animals or service animals in training may be brought aboard provided they remain under the passenger’s control and do not pose a threat to passengers or crew members. It is a misdemeanor to knowingly and fraudulently misrepresent oneself as the owner or trainer of a service dog, per California Penal Code 365.7(a). Given how many new passengers have come aboard in recent years, San Francisco Bay Ferry wants to make sure everyone understands the rules. Crews and captains will be actively enforcing the policy to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers. More information and answers to frequently asked questions are available at sanfranciscobayferry.com/pets.