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Fight to save the ferry trudges on

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Updated: 9/18/2013 7:06 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local leader is getting a firsthand understanding of the challenges that the St. Johns River Ferry faces and what it will take to keep it running.

Right now, it is a ship with an uncertain fate but the St. Johns River Ferry remains unfazed, methodically crossing the water with cars of cargo. The slips it routinely slides into need serious repairs.

"There are plates that are lined up in here which you'll see, they're falling off," said General Manager Mark Fernandez.

State Rep. Janet Adkins is on a mission to save the ferry. Wednesday, she reviewed new design plans for the slips and actually took an up-close look.

Fernandez said every day that passes, the problems get worse. And in this case, time is money.

"We've had a complete redesign done by an engineering company. We're ready to begin work on the replacement. We're just looking for funding to support the project," he said.

Funding to the tune of $7.8 million. He said they need it within the year. The slips can't hold up any longer than that.

Adkins plans to present a proposal to top leaders in Tallahassee.

"I think the state's a critical partner in the continuation of the St. Johns River Ferry and I will absolutely fight to make sure that that continues," she said.

On top of repairs, it takes $1.7 million to run the ferry annually, and $450,000 is needed from the city budget for next year. City Council will vote whether to grant the funding on Sept. 24.
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