Ferry Proposal Draws Support, Questions

Monday, March 13, 2006
A proposal for high-speed ferry service linking southwest Connecticut and Manhattan is gaining support and financial backing, but also raising concerns about whether enough passengers would use it. A recent report by several regional planning agencies found potential demand for a high-speed ferry to link Bridgeport and Stamford with Manhattan and possibly LaGuardia Airport. However, the report stops short of recommending whether to pursue the project, saying more research is needed and local communities will have to determine whether they want the service. The Bridgeport Port Authority is awaiting results of a study to answer several of those questions. The proposal also has already won nearly $9 million in federal grants that could be used to launch the ferry service. However, questions remain about whether enough passengers would use the service to make it feasible, considering the rides are likely to cost more and take longer than those on Metro-North Railroad. The ferry is one of several options reviewed in the planning agencies' report, which explores options to use waterways to cut the region's reliance on highways and rails. The report also says the fast-ferry service from Bridgeport to Manhattan would be feasible only if it stopped in Stamford. Stamford officials said they like the idea, but need more information before committing to it. Others believes the state's priority should be improving commuter rail if it wants to ease the burden on highways. (Source: Newsday)
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