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With New Proposal, JTA Could Operate St. Johns River Ferry

Kevin Meerschaert

The latest plan to save the St. Johns River Ferry involves the Jacksonville Transportation Authority taking over operations. Members of the Ferry Commission on Thursday asked for more details as to how the plan would work.

The plan is part of the proposed extension of the six-cent local gas tax. Commission Chairman John Crescimbeni said he wants to make certain JTA’s commitment to the ferry is long-term.

JAXPORT operated the ferry for several years but couldn’t afford to keep running it.

"I don't want the ferry to find itself in that same situation in the future where the JTA takes over the ferry because it looks good because they'll get a gas tax extension, but in two years or five years or eight years it's, 'this ferry is really too much trouble, it doesn't fit our business model, you know we are in ground transportation not water transportation, let's shut it down,'" Crescimbeni said.

The commission invited members of the JTA administration and board to meet with them to discuss the future of the ferry.

JTA officials say they are willing to take over operations but would need final say over finances since the authority would be taking on the financial risks.

You can follow Kevin Meerschaert on Twitter @KMeerschaertJax.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.