Monday, June 28, 2004

Ferry Celebrates 40th

On July 1st, the Cape May - Lewes Ferry will Celebrate its 40th Anniversary.

On the 2nd and 3rd, fireworks, pirates, and a tribute to the Beatles mark the celebration in family fun style.

Will it see another forty years? Regardless of that, the celebration looks like a good time if you want to entertain the family.

But, I'm going to pursue the question just a little. Will it see forty more years? I guess that depends on who you ask.

In the Anniversary press release, the Executive Director of the Delaware River Bay Authority stated:
The Ferry, which handles 1.1 million passengers each year, is an integral component in the region's transportation and tourism industry. Today, we are laying the foundation for the next forty years and our commitment to this important southern link and the people who use it has never been stronger.
That's not quite the impression I get from the Delaware Legislature, which initiated a two year study on the feasibility of replacing the ferry with a combination bridge and tunnel. Their joint House and Senate resolution will supply a decision in January of 2005:
WHEREAS, growth and development in Sussex County has increased the pressure on Delaware's highway system in that area; and

WHEREAS, as it is currently operated, the Cape May - Lewes Ferry is neither an effective commuter conveyance nor a strong draw for tourists to Sussex County, losing millions of dollars each year and having lost approximately $3 million last year alone; and

WHEREAS, it takes over an hour to cross the Delaware Bay by Ferry at a cost of $25.00 each way during the peak travel season; and

WHEREAS, years ago, the concept of a combined bridge/tunnel crossing to traverse the Chesapeake Bay between the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula with the Virginia mainland was investigated and built; and

WHEREAS, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel Crossing has proven successful, providing for uninterrupted and expedient travel across the Bay; and

WHEREAS, a project to build a bridge/tunnel crossing to traverse the Delaware Bay between Delaware and New Jersey would be similar in scope to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel Crossing; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly finds and declares that the construction of a Delaware Bay Bridge/Tunnel Crossing would be an inspiring engineering feat and, when completed, could be used as a multi-purpose structure, acting both as a major route for interstate transportation and travel and a platform for wind turbines or tidal generation facilities to generate electricity desperately needed throughout Sussex County;


BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the 142nd General Assembly of the State of Delaware, the House of Representatives thereof concurring therein, with the approval of the Governor, that the Delaware River and Bay Authority is directed to study the feasibility of constructing a Combined Bridge/Tunnel Crossing to traverse the Delaware Bay.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that no later than January 15, 2005, the Delaware River and Bay Authority is directed to submit to the Governor and the General Assembly a report describing its research and findings, including the potential costs to motorists using the bridge/tunnel.
So, the foundation for the next forty years of transportation between Cape May and Lewes may be something being considered by the Delaware River Bay Authority. But it may not include a ferry.

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