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Cape May – Lewes Ferry Awarded $6M Federal Transit Administration Grant to Repower and Retrofit MV New Jersey and MV Cape Henlopen
By JSalmon on 04/18/2016:  

 Cape May – Lewes Ferry Awarded $6M Federal Transit Administration Grant to Repower and Retrofit MV New Jersey and MV Cape Henlopen

(Cape May, NJ) Today, Cape May – Lewes Ferry (CMLF) officials announced that the Federal Transit Administration, through the Passenger Ferry Grant Program, has awarded the Delaware Bay ferry service a $6 million grant to help repower and retrofit the MV New Jersey and MV Cape Henlopen. The MV Delaware was the first vessel to undergo this repowering process and is expected to return to Cape May next month.

“We’re grateful the Federal Transit Administration recognizes the importance of completing the ferry rehabilitation and repower project and thank our congressional delegations for their efforts securing this grant which will greatly assist that effort,” said William E. Lowe, III, Chairman of the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA), the operator of the CMLF.

DRBA Vice Chairman James N. Hogan added, “Once installed, these new engines are not only more efficient and will burn less fuel, but emissions are reduced by nearly 40 percent. We can significantly extend the useful life of our fleet and provide a cleaner environment in the communities we serve.”

“Retrofitting or replacing older diesel engines with American-made technology can dramatically reduce harmful emissions,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “Just over one year ago, we secured funding through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, legislation I championed years ago, to help the Delaware River and Bay Authority retrofit the MV Delaware, and now this funding will go toward the Authority's other vessels. This federal investment will make our vessels more efficient while helping to clean our air, and that’s what I call a win-win.”

"This federal funding will significantly improve the efficiency and capabilities of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, which continues to grow in popularity for visitors coming to South Jersey. I applaud Scott Green and his team at the DRBA for their unwavering commitment towards improving the service and I will continue to strongly support our local ferries," said Congressman LoBiondo, a member of the House Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation Subcommittee.

"This $6 million grant from the FTA is welcome news for the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, their passengers and the state of Delaware," said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons. "It's important to maintain and update these machines, and if we continue with the upkeep, besides saving $130,000 on repair fees, the retrofitting will also help save another precious commodity: our environment.”

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Passenger Ferry Grant program resources are awarded based on factors such as the age and condition of existing ferry boats, terminals and related infrastructure; benefits to riders, such as increased reliability; project readiness; and connectivity to other modes of transportation. The repowering and retrofit project will improve the state of the ferry service, increase reliability of its vessels, improve operational capability by permitting higher cruising speeds, and reduce maintenance needs.

The Ferry expects to save approximately $130,000 per year in maintenance costs associated with old engines. The new, clean diesel engines will also have the capability to be converted to operate on natural gas in the future. The new propulsion engines are anticipated to reduce fuel use by 39,600 gallons and carbon dioxide emissions by 443 tons annually. In addition, the upgrade will reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 39.7 tons and particulate matter (PM) emissions by nearly half a ton.

The M/V New Jersey and MV Cape Henlopen are currently equipped with two Fairbanks Morse 38D8-1/8 propulsion engines with a power rating of 2,060 horsepower each. More than 40 years old, these workhorse engines are approaching 100,000 operating hours or the equivalent of 1.5 million miles. In addition, because the Fairbanks Morse engines are no longer built, spare parts are becoming both difficult to find and expensive.

In May, the MV Delaware will return to active service with new engines following a five month repowering at Caddell’s Drydock and Repair Company in Staten Island, New York. This initial repowering project was aided by a $975,000 Diesel Emission Reduction Act grant from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. A welcome home ceremony for the MV Delaware is planned in Cape May for May 31, 2016, and in Lewes on a date yet to be selected..

The Cape May – Lewes Ferry is owned and operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, a bi-state governmental agency created by Compact in 1962. The Ferry is open year-round and has carried more than 43 million passengers since its inception on July 1, 1964. In 2014, the ferry service, which connects Victorian Cape May, New Jersey, and historic Lewes, Delaware, transported approximately 275,000 vehicles and nearly 1 million passengers. For schedule, rates and other program information, please visit the ferry’s website at, or call toll free, 800-643-3779. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @CMLFerry.

PDF of Press Release

MV Cape Henlopen Approaches Lewes Ferry Terminal

MV New Jersey Enters the Cape May Canal.