A decades-long effort to get Woodbridge commuters to Washington, D.C., by ferry has turned an important corner with local transit officials signing on. Advocates are pushing forward with plans to carry a few hundred government employees to work within the next few years.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission has offered to administer a $4.2 million federal grant that will launch a public-private passenger ferry on the Potomac River.

The idea is to start the service with two boats that can carry 400 passengers each  between the Occoquan Harbour Marina on the Occoquan River to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) in D.C.

The PRTC Board of Commissioners voted Sept. 6 to request approval from the Federal Transit Administration to be the local administrator of a $4.2 million grant awarded to the Virginia Department of Transportation…

…Some business and property owners on the Occoquan River have proposed to expand the dock, build up to 340 parking spaces and create a covered waiting area as part of the in-kind contribution, according to the resolution passed by the PRTC board.

In addition, a 5-year lease agreement of the property along the Occoquan River is estimated at $950,000, which is sufficient to serve as the local match.

The FTA awarded the grant to VDOT in 2014. A ferry service has long been sought by 40 stakeholders, including Prince William County Supervisor Frank Principi, D-Woodbridge, who has championed the idea for more than a decade…

…The public-private relationship is key for this ferry service to get started, Principi said, adding that the private sector is willing to purchase two 92-foot-long passenger boats with a top speed of about 48 knots or 55 mph.

“It is new, it’s creative, it’s innovative,” Principi said. “With the two boats in operation from Woodbridge to JBAB, we believe we’ll be taking nearly 1 million passengers off 95 a year. That assumes full capacity with upwards of 350 people on each boat. We don’t think we’ll do that in year one, but certainly by year three…”

Read Full Story: Commuter ferry finally getting somewhere: PRTC, local leaders prepare pilot program | Prince William | insidenova.com

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