With the financially strapped Steamship Authority in mind, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation is requesting $3 billion in aid to keep the country’s ferry industry afloat.

In a letter sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer on May 7, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Cong. Bill Keating pleaded for additional dollars for ferries, citing the SSA’s plummet in passenger traffic and the fiscal strains caused by the pandemic.

“We write to you in support of our state and local government-operated passenger and cargo ferry service, the Steamship Authority (SSA), which has experienced unparalleled economic challenges due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” the letter says in part. “As a result, ferry services like the SSA need critical financial support to weather these economic challenges, and we urge you to provide additional support for the industry in ongoing negotiations of economic relief legislation.”

The letter comes after Gov. Charlie Baker demurred on a similar funding request at the state level from the boat line three weeks ago.

In that letter boat line general manager Bob Davis said the SSA was losing $1 million per week and might have to cease operations by the end of May if it did not receive immediate financial assistance.

Since then the SSA has steadied its financial ship, with $12 million in expedited federal grant funds that will allow it to operate through July, and secured a $10 million line of credit from a local bank. But the letter to congressional leadership on Friday said more funds are needed.

“[The federal grant money] will help reduce the immediate economic hardship and assist the SSA, but additional support is necessary to ensure long term operations are able to continue,” it said. “We understand that ferry services across the country are likely facing a similarly untenable situation.”

The letter mirrored much of the tone and language from Mr. Davis’s letter to Governor Baker, and painted a similarly bleak financial outlook for the state-chartered boat line. Senators Markey and Warren and Mr. Keating specifically requested the inclusion of at least $3 billion for emergency ferry service relief, to be distributed nationally through an existing funding mechanism called the Construction of Ferry Boats and Ferry Terminal Facilities Formula Program.

“This program has proven to be an effective means distributing federal funding to ferry services according to the number of passengers and vehicles transported, as well as the number of nautical miles covered,” the letter says. “Utilizing this formula, while expanding eligible expenses to include general operating costs and emergency measures related to the coronavirus, would ensure that ferry services across the country can still set sail after this pandemic subsides.”

SSA communications director Sean Driscoll issued a statement Friday after the letter went out, expressing gratitude for the attention from federal representatives. He noted that the request for aid is just one possible solution to the funding challenges.

“While this request is being pursued, we will continue to run our operations in the most cost-effective manner possible while we investigate with our state and federal colleagues all available options to help fund our operations and, ultimately, to avoid having to assess our port communities for any operational deficits at the end of the year,” Mr. Driscoll said. “I sincerely thank Sens. Warren and Markey and Rep. Keating for their diligence and assistance.”