Editor’s Note: This letter was sent by the five borough presidents to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Because of its importance to Queens, we reproduce it here.
For decades, New York City’s waterways have been an untapped resource. While it has the potential to serve as a major form of public transportation, only a limited number of ferry routes are provided between the five boroughs. We feel the time is right to move forward with expansion of waterborne transportation that links all the boroughs in a manner that other transportation alternatives cannot. Permanent funding for the Rockaway Ferry is an important piece to realizing this long-term goal.
As the final stages of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget adoption approaches, funding needs to be provided so that ferry services become a permanent transportation option for those that do not have readily available access to traditional means of public transportation. At the bare minimum, it means not cutting successfully utilized ferry service already in existence. Cutting the Rockaway Ferry, and not making it part of the permanent budget, is counterintuitive to that policy. This includes making ferry options like the Rockaway Ferry a permanent part of the City’s waterway plan.
We understand there are many priorities important to each of our individual boroughs but the realization of a five-borough ferry system is of utmost importance to the city we share. We need to add ferry service, not take it away. With the budget coming to a close the five borough presidents are solidified on the need for waterborne transportation. We see the importance of the Rockaway Ferry as it is utilized by Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens already.
The five Borough Presidents therefore ask that the Mayor and the New York City Council allocate the funds for this necessary inter-borough ferry service as the budget adoption process comes to a close. We look forward to discussing this matter with you personally. Thank you.
Melinda Katz, Queens Borough President
Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President
James Oddo, Staten Island Borough President
Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Borough President