Recovery Act Grants Will Dramatically Expand Ferry Service in Michigan

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

July 15, 2009

Funds will create jobs, improve service in Detroit and the U.P.

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm on Tuesday announced that the Port of Detroit and St. Mary's River Ferry System will benefit from grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) to expand ferry boat service in the state.  The two grants totaling $8.3 million, which will be administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation, will fund improvements in Detroit, Drummond Island, Neebish Island and Sault Ste Marie.

"This funding will significantly enhance ferry boat service in Michigan by opening up new opportunities for travel for business and pleasure," Granholm said.  "Upgrading our state's ferry boat facilities will create jobs, strengthen tourism and bolster our economy."

The competitive grant awards, announced Tuesday by the Federal Highway Administration, are part of the $60 million Ferry Boat Discretionary (FBD) program for construction and rehabilitation of ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities included in the Recovery Act.

The Port of Detroit Public Dock and Terminal project will use $7,139,455 to complete a 200' x 40' offshore wharf and complete construction of additional space for the terminal building at the Detroit City Dock located on Atwater Street along the Detroit River.  Construction activities are expected to create as many as 400 jobs.

When finished, this facility will dramatically expand ferry boat and cruise ship access to the city of Detroit.  The facility could provide the first passenger-only ferry service connecting Detroit with a number of other Michigan communities, including Monroe, Wyandotte, Grosse Pointe, St. Clair Shores and Port Huron, as well as an additional connection between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.  The facility will also be able to accommodate cruise ship traffic which currently is unable to dock in Detroit.

In addition, $1,175,000 will be used to enhance the safety and efficiency of the St. Mary's River Ferry system in northern Michigan by lengthening the pier at Drummond Island to accommodate larger vessels, modifying the docks at Neebish Island/Barbeau to accommodate multiple vessels, and replacing deteriorating dock pilings at Sault Ste. Marie.

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For more information about the Recovery Act in Michigan, visit