FDOT willing to be partner in ferry funding


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Transportation is willing to be a partner in funding St. Johns River Ferry operations, but not be the sole source of funding, a spokeswoman said Friday.

She did not mention a figure on how much funding FDOT would be willing to provide.

Last month, a special City Council committee charged with looking at options to keep the Mayport ferry afloat passed a bill to create a ferry commission.

The commission was to include seven non-paid members of the general public appointed by the council and the mayor, and would either operate the ferry at Mayport or engage a private-public entity to operate it.

The commission would receive funding from public or private sources, and apply for grants, an issue also being looked at by the council committee.

The Jacksonville Port Authority announced earlier this year it will no longer be responsible for operating the ferry after Sept. 30, when it will terminate its contract at the end of the fiscal year.

JaxPort has said it hopes to support the ferry but said it can no longer afford the upkeep of the aged boat.

It said the tab for running the ferry runs from $500,000 to $750,000 a year. The boat and docks also need about $4 million worth of repairs.

The ferry has been around since 1948.