Environmental Study to Delay Ferry Service Plan for MacDill AFB

first_imgA federally mandated environmental study will delay by one or more years planned construction of a high-speed ferry project intended to ease traffic congestion experienced by commuters to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.A study to determine the best location for a ferry terminal could take two years, and likely force postponement of the 2017 start date for construction, reported the Tampa Tribune.The project calls for running high-speed ferries from a yet-to-be-determined point in South Hillsborough County across Tampa Bay to MacDill. The service would relieve traffic congestion on clogged highways as well as lessen the bottlenecks that occur each morning at the base’s front gates.Much of the project’s $20 million price tag would be paid for by Hillsborough County, the state and private partners, but the smaller role played by the federal government is forcing the delay, said Jeff Seward, CFO for the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. The Federal Transit Administration is slated to contribute $4.7 million to the ferry project.“It’s fairly frustrating,” Tampa attorney Ed Turanchik, who represents the two companies partnering with Hillsborough County, told the Tribune. “Commissioner [Sandy] Murman expressed some concerns about the fact that the federal government is a minor partner in this, but has taken control of the whole process. That’s the problem with federalizing these things,” Turanchik said.Local officials were hoping to select a site for the terminal — likely in Gibsonton — by the end of the year, but now that decision will need to wait until the analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act is completed. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img

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