The City of Bayonne will finally be able to capitalize on its prime location along New Jersey’s Gold Coast and proximity to NYC, with ferry service from the Peninsula City to Manhattan starting in the very near future.
A $650,000 federal grant was recently awarded to Bayonne for the construction of the ferry terminal and Bayonne City Council voted in April to start the bidding process. City officials, including newly re-elected Mayor Davis, have wanted this for the city and its commuters for some time.
Talks with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began in earnest in February 2017 and Mayor Davis told The Jersey Journal in March of this year, “We’ve finally gotten to a point where the Port Authority is in agreement: that a ferry is conducive to the city of Bayonne.”
The planned ferry stop will be on the southern shore of the Military Ocean Terminal (MOT), owned by the Port Authority, which is located on a man-made 130-acre peninsula one mile east of Route 440. The Port Authority bought the MOT, a former Army and Navy base, from Bayonne in 2010 and has now agreed to a 10-year deal with Bayonne, leasing 1.5 acres of land and about one acre of berth (where the ferry will dock) for $200,000 a year.
Results of a 2017 impact study concluded there was high demand for a ferry, citing an overcrowded Light Rail during peak commute times and significantly shorter travel time — the ferry ride across the Hudson River to Manhattan will be approximately 10 minutes. The ferry from Bayonne could also be another option for commuters in surrounding areas as well.
The $650,000 federal grant was awarded through the federal Passenger Ferry Grant Program administered by the Federal Transit Authority within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). At the announcement of the grant, Matthew Kopko, counselor to the deputy secretary and senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as well as a resident of Bayonne, said “Part of why we’re here in Bayonne is that a lot of people in the ferry application process came in and said they’d put in 20 percent of the money themselves. Bayonne came in and said we’re going to put in 60 percent. Those are the things we love to see.”
The 60 percent is reportedly going to come from various government organizations and private real estate developers who are building on the MOT — residential development on the peninsula is booming and a new Costco is coming soon.
Details like the total cost of the project, ferry schedules and fares, and when service will start won’t be available until an operator is chosen. RFPs are expected to start coming in by summertime.