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Va.-to-DC commuter ferry study gets federal boost

Congestion on roadways has prompted the federal government to provide a grant for a commuter ferry between Virginia and D.C. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

WASHINGTON — One answer to congested commutes in the capital region may be a new commuter ferry service that would carry vehicles on the Potomac between Virginia and the District of Columbia, and the federal government is helping the effort.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the Northern Virginia Regional Commission has been awarded a $173,361 grant to study whether a ferry between the two jurisdictions would reduce congestion on highways and interstates, as well as air pollution.

In addition to commuters, the ferry could benefit business shippers, by providing alternatives to the already-overtaxed road system.

In a statement, Foxx said marine highway projects “help us take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of one of America’s most crucial transportation assets — our coastal and inland waterways.”

Also in Virginia, the James River Container Expansion Project was awarded $476,748, for an existing “container on barge” service, that operates along the James River between Hampton Roads and Richmond.

The grant to 64 Express will expand the service to include moving refrigerated and frozen products on the barge.

According to the Transportation Dept. statement, the 64 Express is already removing more than 15,000 truck trips per year from Virginia highways.

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