OUTER BANKS, N.C. - The North Carolina Ferry System (NCFS) is being designated as a Marine Highway Project.
U.S. Sec. of Transportation Elaine Chao made the announcement Thursday.
It means the NCFS can now apply for federal funding to improve its ferries and infrastructure at terminals.
The idea is to get more people off of congested roads by using the waterways instead.
"This designation will be very important in terms of offering an alternative to the traffic that is being carried on the roads," Chao told News 3, "and that will help obviously the traffic congestion, and it will also provide for more efficient and safe route of movement on the waterways as well."
The North Carolina Ferry System is the second largest in the country.
It transports about 800,000 vehicles every year along seven routes connecting eastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks.