Florida State Representatives Janet Adkins and Mike Weinstein; Jacksonville City Council Vice President Bill Gulliford; Save the Ferry Task Force members Elaine Brown, Aaron Bowman, Rich Redick and Larry Williams announced today that efforts to “Keep the Ferry” continue, despite a disappointing response from the Secretary of Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) that operating funds for the St. Johns River Ferry will not be provided for this year. The Secretary of FDOT has indicated the Department is not in the position to provide operating funds for the upcoming year, however discussions continue as to the possibility of FDOT contributing money for capital project improvements necessary in the next few years.
The Cities of Jacksonville and Atlantic Beach, along with JaxPort have tentatively agreed to commit over $400,000 this fiscal year to continue operations of the ferry. With this coalition confirming their support, the St. Johns River Ferry Commission has sufficient funding to assume ferry operations on October 1, 2012 and continue operating the ferry for the next 12 months.
During this time, discussions with Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will continue to address the upcoming capital costs necessary for ferry improvements and maintenance to the ferry landing.
The “Keep the Ferry” efforts began in mid-January when JaxPort announced its plans to discontinue operating the St. Johns River Ferry. Rep. Janet Adkins held several meetings in Tallahassee in January and February during the 2012 Legislative Session, while Councilman Gulliford created a task force chaired by former Jacksonville City Council President Elaine Brown. These collective efforts over the last six months have now resulted in the creation of the St. Johns River Ferry Commission, which will assume responsibilities for operating the ferry beginning October 1, 2012.
Anyone wishing to receive additional information should contact Stan Johnson at 904-630-1642.