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The Channel Cat Water Taxi will again be stopping in East Moline thanks to a $1.85 million federal infrastructure grant to build a new dock terminal at the Bend on the Mississippi development. Metrolink, which owns and operates the bistate region’s river ferry, was among projects in 11 states and territories to receive the Passenger Ferry Grant Program funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The grants announced Friday, Feb. 18, are part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Biden last year. Jennifer Hirsch, MetroLINK’s manager of administration, said the organization is excited to add what will be its fifth Quad Cities stop for the passenger ferry boat. The water taxi previously had an East Moline stop at The Quarter located upriver but ceased operations after a 2006 flood took out the dock. “It didn’t make sense to replace it at the time,” she told the QCBJ. However, with the growing presence of The Bend District on the riverfront and the City of East Moline’s desire to improve the connectivity between its riverfront and downtown, Ms. Hirsch said, “It was the perfect opportunity to revisit adding the Channel Cat back to East Moline.” The dock project, which is expected to open for the 2024 season, aligns with the city’s plans to increase multimodal travel between bus routes, paratransit and the riverfront bike trail network, Ms. Hirsch said in a news release. “The new dock is planned to improve access to mobility by enhancing features that support safety, ADA access such as railings, ramps, and wayfinding,” she added. The multi-million-dollar award was announced in a joint press release Friday issued by U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline; and U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, both Illinois Democrats. Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Passenger Ferry Grant Program not only continues but will be complemented by two new competitive grant programs, including:
- Up to $2 billion for Ferry Service for Rural Communities to improve access and mobility in areas where ferry service is a critical link for communities.
- Up to $500 million for an Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry pilot program to support the transition of passenger ferries to low- or zero-emission technologies, which will help fight the climate crisis.