JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The St. Johns River Ferry just received a $900,000 grant from the federal government, and while some see it as a good thing for Northeast Florida, others are still questioning the ferry’s worth.
“It will take a huge amount of pressure off the budget for the ferry for the next two years,” says Jacksonville Councilman John Crescimbeni.
The grant is unique in that its operational, meaning the money can be used to pay salaries, buy fuel, and do minor repair and maintenance.
Crescimbeni also says ridership and revenue increased over February and March. He argues the ferry is heading in the right direction.
“People like it,” says Councilman Stephen Joost, who has long opposed ferry funding efforts. “But when you ask them when’s the last time you took it? Years.”
Joost says it’s not that he’s against the ferry, but he just thinks there are other projects and needs that take a higher priority right now.
“We can’t even get the sidewalks mowed,” he says.
Joost says the ferry commission promised it would bring tourism, and that hasn't happened.