By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
It appears the Lynn ferry has a bright future, it is just not clear if that future is now.
The federal government announced a $4.5 million grant award to the city of Lynn last week, with the funds designated to help the city purchase a new ferry boat to operate between Lynn and downtown Boston.
According to an announcement by US Congressman Seth Moulton’s office, the grant will, help pay for a new 149-passenger ferry boat, but there is no timeline for when that ferry boat will be purchased.
The grant announcement noted the city’s success the past two years in operating a seasonal ferry service between Lynn and downtown Boston with the assistance of state and federal grant funds to subsidize the Boston Harbor Cruises operated service.
That service drew 13,136 passengers in 2014 and grew to 14,557 riders in 2015. The 30-minute trip was a popular summertime commuting option for Lynners and others from around the North Shore.
Meanwhile, city and state officials have been working feverishly to identify funds that could be used to continue the highly successful commuter ferry pilot in 2016. Unfortunately, those efforts have not been as successful to date.
Lynn State Senator Thomas McGee, chairman of the state legislatures’ Transportation Committee, said following the grant announcement, that the new federal award will be key to helping Lynn establish year-round commuter service to Boston.
“It’s very exciting news, it allows us to run a ferry service that works for Lynn,” said McGee.
Congressman Moulton, meanwhile cited the combined efforts of city officials and legislative leaders with helping to bring the grant to Lynn.