The effort to build a ferry terminal at the Berkeley Marina got a boost this week.

The Alameda County Transportation Commission signed off Thursday on a funding plan that awards $5.1 million for design, environmental review and engineering work on the project that envisions renovating the closed Berkeley Pier to add ferry service to San Francisco.

Backers of the proposal described the county grant as a major step forward. It still remains to be seen precisely where funding for its construction, estimated at $122 million, will come from.

The Water Emergency Transportation Authority, which operates San Francisco Bay Ferry, has undertaken an expansion plan that calls for adding and increasing service to Berkeley and other Bay Area cities. The ferry agency is sticking with those projects even as the pandemic disrupted commute patterns and created dire fiscal threats to public transit.

Some of the Marina’s recreational users oppose the ferry proposal, and have raised concerns that it could lead to a surge of commuters that overwhelms the waterfront.

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Nico Savidge joined Berkeleyside in 2021 as a senior reporter covering city hall. Born and raised in Berkeley, he got his start in journalism at Youth Radio as a high-schooler in the mid-2000s. Since then,...