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May 9, 2006


Funding Paves the Way for Commuter Boat Service to Commence this June


SALEM– Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today approved a $2.325 million grant for the City of Salem to help purchase the Friendship IV, a high-speed catamaran that will begin shuttling people to and from Boston next month.


“The Friendship IV will help boost the local economy by improving access to all the great destinations Salem has to offer its visitors,” said Healey. “The high-speed ferry also gives North Shore commuters, who travel back and forth to Boston, a new alternative to avoiding the heavy congestion.”


The grant, which is funded through the Executive Office of Transportation (EOT), will help subsidize the $3.1 million purchase cost of the vessel. The remainder of the funding will come from the City of Salem. The new ferry service will be administered by the City and will operate between Blaney Street Landing in Salem and Central Wharf in downtown Boston.


“Lieutenant Governor Healey has made it clear that we must take a multi-modal approach to our transportation needs,” said Transportation Secretary John Cogliano. “Through her work on the state’s Seaport Advisory Council, she understands the importance of water transportation, and she quickly identified this grant as a sound transit investment.”


In 1998, EOT funded a demonstration ferry program along the same route between June and October. The service was viewed as a success and laid the groundwork for the grant approved today. In recent years, inclusive of the demonstration project, EOT has provided approximately $645,000 in Salem marine facilities.


This grant also supports the work of the Commonwealth’s Seaport Advisory Council (SAC) and the City of Salem’s prior investments in marine transportation infrastructure. In June of 2002, Salem received $3.25 million from the SAC for the nearby South River marine facilities and $300,000 for the New Salem Wharf, which will host the new commuter boat service.


The Friendship IV is a high-speed catamaran that will shuttle people between Salem and Boston in one hour, starting this June. The vessel is able to accommodate 149 passengers, and will make six round-trips each weekday. The service will be seasonal, and it is anticipated to be operational between May and November. City officials have indicated that the cost of the service will be approximately $15 per round trip.


“The new ferry provides the opportunity to connect the cultural centers of Boston and Salem via the water highway,” said Rick Armstrong, Executive Director, Seaport Advisory Council.





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