Letters to the Editor: October 22
A Brooklyn Republican's Plaintive Inquiry, Return of Bay Ridge To Staten Island Ferry Service Makes Sense
We now live in a country where you can’t ask questions or question authority. I’d like answers to these questions. Why are citizens losing their jobs for being unvaccinated when over a million illegals and Afghans have entered our country unvetted with no Covid restrictions? Why can “my body my choice” apply to abortion but not the unvaccinated? Why are companies with 100 employees vaccine mandated but companies with 99 aren’t? Why did Congress give themselves a vaccine exemption when they’re fighting exemptions for others?
Why are children mask mandated when no random study was done that supports it? Why were masks mandated at large gatherings for us but ignored by Obama, Pelosi and the Emmy elites? Why are therapeutics used successfully around the world yet not promoted here? Why is natural immunity from getting Covid ignored when an Israeli study shows it has better protection than vaccines? Why hasn’t Biden given a press conference in three months when Trump took questions daily? The answer to these questions is simple. Democrats want control from local government to the presidency with cradle to grave entitlements. Their motto is “Rules for thee but not for me, no questions needed.” America is suffering!
— Craig Boyer
Here are some ways to pay for “Does Bay Ridge Need Another Ferry to Staten Island.” Prior to opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964, there was ferry service from the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn 69th Street pier to the St. George, Staten Island Ferry Terminal with connections to the Whitehall Street, Manhattan Ferry Terminal. There is continued good news from Washington concerning federal support for transportation. The Federal Transit Administration announced a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) on August 6th. This is an opportunity to apply for $38 million in Fiscal Year 2021 competitive grant funding for passenger ferry projects nationwide. FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program funds capital projects to improve existing passenger ferry service, establish new ferry service, and repair and modernize ferry boats, terminals, and related facilities and equipment. Under this $38 million program, $4 million has been set aside for low or zero-emission ferries or ferries using electric battery or fuel cell components and the infrastructure to support such ferries.
FTA recipients can also choose to spend whatever they receive under their share of Fiscal Year Section 5307 Urbanized Area; $4.929 billion or Section 5337 State of Good Repair $2,723 billion for ferry projects. The Federal Highway Administration has funding under several programs including Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ), Surface Transportation Program (STP) and others which can be flexed or transferred to FTA can also finance capital ferry projects.
Mayor Bill de Blasio should ask NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Hank Gutman to apply for these funds on behalf of the Staten Island Ferry. NYC Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Rachel Loeb can do the same on behalf of the Private Ferry Operators Program. This is another great example of Washington providing financial assistance to promote public transportation.
NYC can also apply for capital grants from the New York State Department of Transportation and other formula and competitive discretionary FTA grants to assist in funding. Albany also provides State Transportation Operating Assistance (STOA). Ridership on any transit service generates yearly federal transportation capital assistance via the annual FTA Section 15 annual reporting process. Numerous past private ferry operators have come and gone. They could not financially survive without government subsidy. New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus, subway and commuter rail along with NYC DOT Staten Island Ferry is subsidized by a combination of City, State and Federal assistance for both capital and operating costs. All new ferry services will require similar subsidies to survive.
New ferry services can be implemented more quickly than construction of new subway, commuter rail or highways. These can take years or even decades until completion of environmental reviews, planning, design, engineering, real estate acquisition, permits, procurements and construction before reaching beneficial use. Completing all of the above, along with finding funding for ferry boats, docks and parking with costs in the millions is easier than finding the billions of dollars for construction of new or extended subway, commuter rail or highways. Utilization of ferry boats equipped with fuel efficient engines can make a positive contribution to air quality.
Prior to opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964, there was ferry service from the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn 69th Street pier to the St. George, Staten Island Ferry Terminal with connections to the Whitehall Street, Manhattan Ferry Terminal, Fifty seven years later, isn’t it time to restore a Staten Island to Brooklyn ferry service?
No one remembers the long forgotten proposed tunnel between 69th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and St. George, Staten Island. The concept was to extend subway service from the Brooklyn BMT line to Staten Island. Ground was broken with entrances at both ends in the 1920’s, but the project quickly ran out of money and was abandoned to history. When living on Shore Road in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, friends and I would look to no avail in attempting to find the abandon site filled in decades earlier. At that time, the estimated cost was $60 million. It would cost billions and take a decade to build today. .
– Larry Penner (transportation advocate, historian, and writer, Brooklyn Heights)
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