2004-06-18 / Front Page

Addabbo Calls Ferry Funding SOS

By Brian Magoolaghan

Addabbo Calls Ferry Funding SOS

By Brian Magoolaghan

Councilman Joe Addabbo Jr. says fellow city council members are circling the money allocated for a Rockaway ferry like a school of hungry sharks – and warns there will be a funding feeding frenzy if the DOT can’t get a Rockaway to Manhattan ferry operating soon.

Addabbo’s SOS call comes as the Department of Transportation is preparing to release an invitation to ferry service providers to establish a Rockaway run. As an incentive, DOT spokesperson Tom Cocola says the agency will pay the service provider’s landing fees – maintenance paid to the dock owner. That money, about $40,000 a year, would come from a $300,000 fund specifically established for a Rockaway ferry about three years ago.

Addabbo, who wants to give the entire fund to ferryboat owner Tom Paladino, says the DOT’s plan is a sure loser because the fare on a non-subsidized ferry will be too high to attract commuters. He pointed to New York Waterways’ attempt – weekend service with a round-trip cost of $26, which failed last summer.

Paladino said the fund was supposed to be used as a fare reduction subsidy and that doling it out in smaller amounts makes that impossible.

"Nobody’s going to come forward… We’re the only company that can even take a shot at this," said Paladino.

Ferryboat builder/operator James A. Barker, who said he is still interested in expanding his business to Rockaway, told The Wave that the DOT’s incentive plan would allow him to provide a round-trips for $20-$25 – factoring in the cost of building new boats for the run. He said the fare could be reduced if older boats were used.

Addabbo’s plan calls for spending the $300,000 over the course of the first year, with a round trip fare of about $10, and finding more funding year to year. But Cocola suggested Addabbo’s opposition to the DOT plan is motivated by the councilman’s personal agreement with Paladino.

"He has one particular vendor in mind," said Cocola.

The DOT will begin sending out their invitations sometime next month, and was not able to forecast how the process would proceed.


Return to top


Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2014 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History