No funds for ferry proposal

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09/23/2010 12:00 AM |

Cross Sound Ferry has come up short in its bid for a $10 million federal grant to improve its fleet to accommodate an additional 3,000 truck trips each year.

Earlier this summer the ferry company and the Connecticut Department of Transportation jointly filed an application for funding through the America’s Marine Highway program, a federal Department of Transportation effort to move more cargo by water routes.

Called the Cross Sound Enhancements Project, the plan was designed to divert truck traffic from I-95 onto the ferry. The application was one of eight finalists, but it was not among those that got a share of the $7 million released on Monday. The bulk of the grants went to projects in Texas, Florida, Virginia and Mississippi.

Cross Sound had hoped to use the money to replace the engines in two of its vessels and enlarge another boat.

The application drew considerable opposition from the group Southold Citizens for Safe Roads.

“Federal funds would have been used to create havoc, not only in Orient and East Marion, but across the North Fork,” said its president, Freddie Wachsberger. “No consideration had been given to our environment, to the health, safety and quality of life of the residents of Southold and Riverhead. This would have been Cross Sound Ferry’s most outrageous assault to date, and we taxpayers would have been paying for it.”

With no funds coming to Cross Sound, the opposition is “a tempest in a teapot,” said ferry spokesman Stan Mickus.

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