On Tuesday, the Pinellas County Commission voted 5-2 to support the return of the Cross Bay Ferry in October.
The interlocal agreement (ILA) between the City of St. Petersburg, Hillsborough County, City of Tampa and Pinellas County stipulates that each jurisdiction will contribute $175,000 to subsidize the ferry operations for the 2021-22 season. That number increases to $190,000 for 2022-23, $202,500 for 2023-24, and $255,000 for 2024-25. The jurisdictions will share 50% of all proceeds in excess of $400,000 each season.
The Ferry’s return seemed to be tabled last month after a Board workshop and subsequent meeting where voting took place. Commissioners expressed dismay at the process by which the ILA was negotiated and the uncertainty of how the ferry will operate subsidy free after year 4.
The Ferry will begin in October each year and run through April 30th in 2022, May 31st in 2023, June 30th in 2024 and September 30th in 2025.
The plan is to have full, year round, commuter and leisure service by 2025.
The St. Pete Chamber’s Board of Governors and Public Policy Council was instrumental in convincing the Commission to bring the ferry back, but our work is not done! There is still much to be worked on in order to avoid the contract’s cancellation next year. Stay tuned for more details.