Casco Bay Island Transit District (CBITD) welcomed Senator Susan Collins, the Deputy Regional Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, and other project and community stakeholders, to the Casco Bay Lines terminal in Portland on Tuesday, August 16th. Following an extensive planning process, and more than 18 months of construction, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate significant renovations to the terminal building, site and marine infrastructure.
“The impressive renovation and expansion of this terminal complement the beauty of the region it serves. From the vibrant Portland waterfront to the tranquil islands, Casco Bay represents the very best of Maine,” said Senator Collins. “Whenever I advocate for federal funding for Maine projects, I know that our State will produce a strong return on investment. Upgrades to the ferry service are investments that will benefit all who live, work, and visit in the Casco Bay region for many years to come.”
The existing Casco Bay Lines ferry terminal, built in 1988, was designed for an annual capacity of 500,000 passengers. Prior to the pandemic, the facility handled over 1.1 million passengers annually and similar growth is forecasted well into the future. The terminal renovations are critical to accommodating this growth and enhancing the overall long-term operational capabilities of the transit operator serving the islands of Casco Bay.
The need for terminal renovations was acknowledged formally by Casco Bay Lines in 2006. With support from Senator Collins and other federal, state and local stakeholders, Casco Bay Lines celebrated the completion of the first of the three-phase renovation project – the new ticket office and waiting area – in 2014.
In 2016, again with support from Senator Collins, Casco Bay Lines was awarded $2.5 million in funding through the FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant program (49 U.S.C. 5307(h)) which provides competitive funding for ferry systems in urbanized areas, for the second phase of terminal renovations, to expand the building. And, in 2019, an additional $3.44 million was awarded for the third phase of terminal renovations necessary to repair and enhance existing marine infrastructure.
“The renovations to the terminal will improve service and safety for our customers and prepare us for the next 20 to 30 years.” said Hank Berg, General Manager of Casco Bay Lines. “We’re extremely grateful for the steadfast support of Senator Susan Collins, the Federal Transit Administration, the State of Maine and our partners in the region who enthusiastically supported this renovation.”
CBITD is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. A quasi-municipal, non-profit corporation, CBITD was established in 1981 and officially took over operations of Casco Bay Lines on March 26, 1982. Since then, Casco Bay Lines has provided 40 years of continuous service to and from the islands of Casco Bay, seven days a week, 365 days a year, including throughout the terminal renovations.
“Maintaining this continuous service, and executing these renovations, all while navigating a pandemic, would not have been possible without the support of our construction project team, staff and customers,” said Berg. “It was important to pause and celebrate this accomplishment.”
More information about the project can be found here.