Alameda: Feds award $3 million grant for new ferry maintenance center
The Water Emergency Transportation Authority has received a $3 million federal grant to build a ferry maintenance and operations facility at the former Alameda Naval Air Station.
The new facility would consolidate the transit agency's routine maintenance services for its central bay fleet, such as fueling and light repairs, provide offices for day-to-day management, and serve as an emergency operations center in the event of a regional emergency.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration awarded the grant on Monday.
"The Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility will allow us to more efficiently and effectively maintain our growing fleet of commuter ferries, resulting in reduced maintenance costs and improved customer service," said Nina Rannells, executive director of WETA.
Along with floating berths for ferries, the project planned for the four-acre site at Ferry Point and West Hornet Avenue calls for a four-story building and a 13,500-square-foot yard, as well as an extension of the Bay Trail, according to a background prepared for the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.
Currently, about 25,000 square feet of dilapidated docks are within the site, which is bordered on the west by a pier used the U.S. Maritime Administration and on the east by a shoreline park.
The proposed 6,100-square-foot maintenance building would house engineering and other workshops, plus dispatch and administration offices for the transit authority. The berthing facilities would include 14,452 square feet of floating docks and mooring facilities connected to a 500-square-foot pile-supported deck, which would lead to the yard and maintenance building.
There would be no public access because the facility must be fenced off for safety and security reasons, the report said.
The entire Bay Area congressional delegation, led by U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, the International Master Mates & Pilots Union and city of Alameda officials were behind the grant request, said Jeff DelBono, a WETA board member.
"Passenger ferries play an important role in our nation's transportation network by connecting people with the jobs and services they need to reach across the river, the bay or other local waterway," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. "We need Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill so we can continue to invest in ferry boat services that provide ladders of opportunity for hard-working families."
A timeline for the construction of the new center was not immediately available. But work on the final design is now under way, according to WETA.
The project comes as city officials are working to create a "town center" for the nearby area known as the Seaplane Lagoon. The waterfront neighborhood would include a ferry terminal and serve as a transit hub that would help link the area with the Webster Street Business District through West Atlantic Avenue.
The city took ownership of about 1,400 acres of the former Navy base, now known as Alameda Point, in June 2013 through a no-cost conveyance agreement with the Navy, which closed the base in 1997.
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