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Rockaway ferry service only funded through October
Rockaway officials backing a permanent ferry service for the area are disappointed that there was no money in the city budget to keep the boats running past October.
The $75 billion budget the City Council approved early Thursday morning had $2 million for the extension of ferry service through October as New York City Economic Development Corporation looks at proposals from ferry operators to run the service for five years.
“That's not enough,” said Assemb. Phil Goldfeder, who represents the Rockaways. “Our families are going to be here past October and we were looking for a five-year commitment.”
The EDC wants a ferry operation that cuts down on the amount of city subsidies required to keep fares low. The subsidies cost the city more than $5 million a year.
“We will continue to examine ridership and seek a sustainable funding stream that can support the $25-$30 subsidy per trip — the highest by far of any public transportation in the city,” said EDC spokeswoman Kate Blumm.
The service between the Rockaways and 34th Street in Manhattan, which costs $3.50 a ride, was launched when Superstorm Sandy knocked out the A train. It has been extended four times and had stops added in Brooklyn to help R train riders who cannot get into Manhattan during repairs to the Montague tunnel.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz in a statement said she was disappointed about the lack of funding and that she and other elected officials would try to add funds during a mid-year budget review. She said the ferry is important to a community still rebuilding from Sandy.
“The Rockaway ferry has played a major role in this recovery and losing it would be devastating this community, which still finds itself in a time of need,” she said.