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State Funding Could Keep St. Johns River Ferry Afloat

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It could be the financial windfall that keeps the St. Johns River Ferry running.

State Senator Aaron Bean and State Representative Janet Adkins have requested up to $1.5 million be set aside in the state’s 2014 budget to keep the ferry afloat.

The funds would be used for repairs and maintenance while the boats are in dry dock.

The request comes at a critical time. The ferry has been having financial trouble for a while.. especially after the Jacksonville Port Authority transferred operation to the newly formed St. Johns River Ferry Commission. The Commission is working proactively to raise funds and awareness about the ferry's historic presence in Mayport and its vital role connecting the community to Fort George and Amelia Islands.

Thousands of commuters depend on the ferry boats, that for decades have sailed across the St. Johns River between Mayport Village and Fort George Island and connect two sections of A1A.

Says Ferry Commissioner and former City Council President Elaine Brown, "We will continue to raise awareness about the need to support the ferry, in particular due to its link to the East Coast Greenway. If the ferry sunsets, the Greenway will not be an unbroken path up and down the East Coast."

Added attorney Marla Buchanan, also on the Commission, "People need to realize the ferry is a moving bridge. Bridges and roads don't turn a profit, and we need to think of the funding in that way."

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