The U.S. Department of Transportation is investing $1 million in the Maine State Ferry Service to improve operations to Maine islands.

"I know first hand how much islanders depend on a reliable ferry service. Not only is it critical for island economies, but in emergency situations it is a literal lifeline to those of us who live on a Maine island," U.S. Rep Chellie Pingree said in a news release.

The grant will fund a number of projects, including:

  • A new, more efficient and reliable engine for one of the ferries that serve Vinalhaven, the Captain Charles Philbrook
  • Rehabilitation of the transfer bridge at Swans Island
  • Rehabilitation of the ferry dock on Matinicus
  • An upgrade of lighting fixtures at all ferry facilities to new, LED lights that will pay for themselves in energy savings in less than two years

In addition, the Ferry Service is exploring the construction of a layover berth on Vinalhaven, which would result in fewer trips canceled or delayed when an unscheduled emergency run involves one of the ferries that serve Vinalhaven.