Cross Sound Ferry denied funds for expansion

by |
09/21/2010 12:00 AM |

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

Cross Sound Ferry has come up short it its bid for a $10 million federal grant to improve its fleet to carry an additional 3,000 truck trips each year.
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. The “Cross Sound Enhancements Project” was designed to divert truck traffic off I-95 in Connecticut and onto the ferry. The application was one of eight finalists, but was not among those getting 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 has hoped to receive funds to replace the engines in two of its vessels and enlarge another boat.
The application drew considerable opposition from the Southold Citizens for Safe Roads group.
“Federal funds would have been used to create havoc, not only in Orient and East Marion, but across the North Fork,” said Freddie Wachsberger, president of the safe roads group. “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 be 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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