2001-03-31 / Front Page

Forget About It!

Forget About It!

City Denies Subsidy For Rockaway Ferry

By John C. McLoughlin

A request by Councilman Al Stabile for city subsidies for a ferry service between Rockaway and Manhattan has been denied, according to a letter from the Department of Transportation. Stabile had sought a city subsidy to lower the anticipated cost of a private ferry that is expected to operate from the former Coast Guard station in Roxbury.

In a letter from DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall, Stabile was informed that "at this time there is no city subsidy for any of the private [ferry] operators in New York City...The possibility of a subsidy for any private ferry service appears remote at this time."

A recently completed ferry feasibility study by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey showed that ferry service was possible, but not without combined financial backing from both private and public entities. As a result of this conclusion, Stabile called upon Commissioner Weinshall to have the Department of Transportation provide a subsidy.

"The anticipated cost of a ticket on the ferry without a subsidy would be anywhere from $7 to $12," Stabile said. "A city subsidy would have cut that to about $2 or $3, a far more reasonable price."

Stabile cited costly ticket fees and a lack of ridership as reasons why past ferry service offered between Rockaway and Manhattan was unsuccessful.

The Port Authority study suggested Barren Island in Brooklyn as an additional ferry stop because the anticipated ridership from the Rockaway peninsula was not adequate to maintain a ferry service.

Stabile said he would now lobby federal and state elected officials in an attempt to secure funding. Among the possible federal funding available are ferryboat discretionary monies, transportation enhancement programs and federal grants that provide monies for mass transit services from suburban communities to urban employment areas.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a possible state source of funding as well. This state agency periodically offers funding for projects that develop innovative modes of transportation.

"Without a subsidy, a new ferry service would suffer the same fate as its predecessors," Stabile said.


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