2010-09-24 / Top Stories

Ferry Talks Back On Front Burner

Weiner Bypasses DOT, Goes Right To Bloomberg
By Howard Schwach

Congressman Anthony Weiner, angered that the city’s Department of Transportation seems to show no interest in a commuter ferry service for Rockaway, has gone right to the top – to Mayor Michael Bloomberg – with a plan to spend the $15 million, already allocated for the purchase of three ferry boats, on funding a renewal of the service.

“It’s clear that the DOT has no enthusiasm for anything that doesn’t involve bicycles and wide streets,” Weiner told The Wave on Wednesday morning. “Their default position on ferry service is always, ‘no.’ ”

“They called the Staten Island Ferry service a ‘dog’ and said that they did not want to get deeper into running a ferry service,” the Congressman added. “They would, however, like to take the $15 million in federal money earmarked for the ferries and use it for something else.”

Weiner said that he has already spoken with the mayor and will meet with him again within the next two weeks to figure out a way to use the federal money to get a commuter ferry moving once again.

“To the mayor’s credit, he said, ‘let’s try and figure this out,’ ” Weiner said. “I never had such a hard time giving away $15 million before.”

“This is a last-ditch chance to get a service going once again,” Weiner added. “We need three high-speed ferries: one coming, one going and one in dry dock. The money has to be used for something tangible and we can’t use it to hire people, but I believe we have a chance of working something out.”

Weiner admitted that scheduling and availability are a major problem.

“We are looking for something affordable and something fast,” Weiner said. “We have to balance those issues with adding additional stops and pushing up the cost and the time it takes to get to Manhattan. We are looking to get people out of their cars and into public transportation. It seems that we can’t do much with the A-Train and the express buses will always have to travel congested city streets. The ferry seems like the only untested option.”

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