In a surprising turn of events, the Hillsborough County Commission has made the decision to scrap a highly-anticipated ferry project. This public-private partnership aimed to revolutionize commuting in the southern portion of the county, but alas, it seems to have been nothing more than a “ferry tale.”
For a decade, officials had been working diligently on a plan to introduce a commuter ferry that would magically cut travel time across Hillsborough Bay. The dream was to provide a stress-free and congestion-free alternative for those traveling from Riverview to MacDill Air Force Base.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, as the commission voted to terminate the ferry project. This decision leaves many commuters wondering what the future holds for their daily journey up Interstate 75 and through the notorious traffic of South Tampa.
County leaders have decided to terminate the contract with the ferry service due to difficulties in getting the project started. This decision, however, does not affect the Tampa to St. Pete Cross Bay Ferry.
In addition to these challenges, commissioners are concerned about the increasing costs of the south county ferry project. The cost of building terminals and acquiring boats has risen by 45% in recent years. This increase coincides with a decrease in project funding after the county’s transportation tax was rejected last year.
There is potential relief for commuters in south Hillsborough County, as commissioners have approved plans to explore expanding the Selmon Expressway south to Riverview.