State rep. secures 1st funding to save ferry

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The Jacksonville Port Authority Board met to discuss the future of the Mayport Ferry.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - State Rep. Janet Adkins has secured a commitment of $200,000 from the Jacksonville Port Authority to fund the St. Johns River Ferry beyond September and is working to get funding from other sources to keep the State Road A1A river crossing running.

The JaxPort funds are contingent on Jacksonville City Council, the Florida Department of Transportation or other sources to fund the additional $450,000 needed for one year of operations.

"This is a huge first step," said Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach. "I am dedicated to continuing to move forward and find funding to keep the St. Johns River Ferry operational."

A FDOT survey done of 3,000 ferry riders completed in March and April showed 46 percent were locals using the ferry for fun, sun and food.

Twenty-nine percent of people were commuting to and from work and 15 percent were tourists.

Just over 60 percent of riders began their trips in Duval County, followed by 25 percent starting in Nassau County. Only 5 percent started in St. Johns County, 1 percent in Clay County and 8 percent from outside the four-county region.

The report makes no recommendation on whether the ferry should continue operating or how to pay for it.

Jacksonville City councilman Bill Gulliford said at the time he hoped the survey would guide the city in the right direction to finding a new entity to operate the ferry.

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