Rockaway, Queens – Although the Rockaway ferry service was not included in the final city budget, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway) is continuing the fight and calling on Mayor de Blasio to implement a fee on the Staten Island ferry, for non-residents, that will generate enough revenue to create permanent ferry service for southern Queens and Rockaway families.
“Staten Island is already receiving a generous subsidy, while Rockaway is still desperately in need of permanent ferry service and better transportation options,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “The Staten Island Ferry has become an attraction for tourist who enjoy the free ride on our taxpayer dime.”
In 2006, the Independent Budget Office (IBO) conducted a study and found charging a “tourist-only” Staten Island Ferry fare or a MetroCard swipe for non-borough residents would generate millions in revenue for the city. Goldfeder recently sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio requesting he implement this plan immediately and direct a portion of the profit to subsidize ferry service for southern Queen and Rockaway.
“Thousands of tourists are currently riding the Staten Island ferry for free every day,” said Dan Mundy Jr. president of the Broad Channel Civic Association. “This is an opportunity to close this ridiculous fiscal loophole while maintaining the Staten Island ferry as free for its residents and in the process creating a funding source to maintain the critical Rockaway ferry!”
“The Rockaway/BAT Ferry service needs to become a permanent means of water transportation for the Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point residents,” said Danny Ruscillo, Co-Chair CB#14 Transportation Committee. “Ferry service is needed to help with our economic development especially after the massive destruction of Superstorm Sandy which the Rockaway Peninsula suffered. The Ferry schedule should include weekends in the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Ridership would increase and the tourism would be a benefit for all.”
Charging non-residents a small fee will boost city revenue and allow for the expansion of ferry service and provide affordable transportation options to other transit starved parts of the city, Goldfeder wrote in his letter.
“Like Staten Island, we deserve an affordable, efficient and reliable means of transportation,” concluded Goldfeder. “The ferry has been a lifeline for our families and small businesses after the devastation caused by Sandy and it must remain permanent. I strongly urge Mayor de Blasio to do the right thing and support our struggling neighborhoods by implementing a fee on the Staten Island Ferry and directing the revenue to our local community to allow for permanent ferry service”
The IBO study concluded that a $4 fee for tourists would bring approximately $2.4 million in yearly revenue and a MetroCard system would generate approximately $4.5 million a year.