Beaver Island Gets $10 Million For Green Ferry

Beaver Island Gets $10 Million For Green Ferry

CHARLEVOIX – For the second time in a year, Beaver Island has received funding for the construction of a new, eco-friendly ferry to run between the island and Charlevoix. The additional $10 million  is the second federal grant for the new electric-powered ferry to be awarded in 10 months;  in addition to the original $6 million last year.

Beaver Island has an airport, but the ferry service is its primary transportation system – making it a lifeline for its economy and community. The island is unreachable by car.

“The ferry system is essential for transporting residents, seasonal visitors, tourists, vehicles, and freight – all of which are necessary for the community and economy. The existing ferries are showing their age and the Island is grateful for this opportunity,” Mary Cook, executive director of the Beaver Island Transportation Authority, told MLive when the first $6 million grant was announced.

Situated approximately 32 miles west of Charlevoix, Beaver Island is the largest island in Lake Michigan. Home to 600 year-round residents,it becomes a bustling hub of activity in the summer, with more than 50,000 tourists visiting each year. Visitors are drawn to the many attractions including several lighthouses, two preserved natural areas, a state forest campground and various promotional events and holiday celebrations.

Currently, the island is served by two ferries – the Emerald Isle, constructed in 1997, and the much older Beaver Islander, built in 1962. The new “green” ferry will be a more efficient, reliable vessel with lower carbon emissions.

The Federal Transit Administration awarded the $10 million grant to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) which will oversee the ferry project. This initiative is part of President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, aimed at enhancing the connectivity and sustainability of transportation across the United States. The earlier $6 million grant came from the Federal Ferry Service Rural Communities Program, which was established by the same 2022 infrastructure law.

In addition to a new ferry, the funds will be used to modernize the docks in Charlevoix and Beaver Island to better accommodate the new vessel.

The Beaver Island Transportation Authority, which will operate the new ferry, now is conducting a study to determine the best propulsion method and fuel source for the new vessel, emphasizing its commitment to environmental sustainability​.

Key Facts:

  1. Beaver Island received an additional $10 million federal grant for a new eco-friendly ferry, adding to a previous $6 million grant, to connect the island with Charlevoix.
  2. The ferry is crucial for the island’s transportation, which is inaccessible by car, supporting its economy and community by moving residents, visitors, vehicles, and freight
  3. The new “green” ferry will be more efficient and have lower carbon emissions, with the project also including dock modernizations in Charlevoix and Beaver Island.


By |2024-03-15T13:58:01-04:00March 15th, 2024|Clean Update, Clean, green, hybrid, Featured|

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