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Maine getting $33M to improve ferry service, including a new hybrid-electric vessel for Islesboro

Virus Outbreak Island
Robert F. Bukaty
An automobile ferry arrives at North Haven, Maine, Monday, March 16, 2020.

The Islesboro ferry will be getting a climate-friendly upgrade, thanks to funding from the bipartisan federal infrastructure bill.

U.S. Senator Susan Collins and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree on Thursday announced $33 million in funding to improve and modernize ferry service in Maine.

That includes $28 million to build a hybrid-electric vessel to replace the 35-year-old Margaret Chase Smith ferry serving Islesboro. Collins and Pingree say the new ferry will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote environmental sustainability for the roughly 600 residents of the island of Islesboro.

The funding was awarded to the Maine Department of Transportation through a new federal program established under the infrastructure law to support passenger ferry systems as they transition to climate-friendly technologies.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.