DETROIT (WWJ) – A new ferry will soon be floating along the Detroit River.
Detroit Port Authority Chairman Louis James made the announcement Saturday morning, saying taxpayers won’t be responsible for funding the project in the slightest. He said grant money and private sector businesses from both sides of the border will pay for the ferry.
“We’ve already been funded for the ferry, we have companies that are coming to us that own ferries who would like to contract with us, so I don’t really see any real cost at this time. We hope to have, as I said, private contractors to come in and operate them,” he said.
James said he views the ferry as being a People Mover on the water. He said there could be one big ferry or several smaller ferries along the river, transporting roughly 200 passengers at a time.
“I think what will happen is a lot of people will leave their cars over there and not have to use the bridge. They could be ferried here and then taken to their jobs. That allows the city not to have to build new garages, because everybody now is being ferried over, taken to their job and then ferried home,” he said.
James said the ferry will primarily serve as another accessway between Detroit and Windsor, but he’s hoping to one day move to the islands and other points on the river that need a ferry taxi.
“We’re hoping to move to, whether it’s the island, or Wyandotte or where ever, points on the river where the river taxi, our ferry could drop people off, pick them off and just create a river service,” he said.
Right now, the plans are to have the ferry up and running in time for Spring. James said he wants to have it ready for next year’s Belle Isle Grand Prix.