Your issue of April 17 reports on the governor’s budget plans for transportation initiatives for the next fiscal year.
On Page 5, you list the projects in the governor’s plans including “Acquire a high-speed ferry boat for rapid off-coast service between San Diego and Oceanside. Cost: $10 million in the form of a grant to Mari-Flite Ferries, a private company that has been seeking state and federal transportation grants to launch its project.”
I wish to point out a couple of errors in your summation of this initiative. As we understand it, the $10 million plan is a Caltrans initiative aimed at a high-speed ferry demonstration between San Diego and Oceanside and, as such, is not a grant to Mari-Flite.
Additionally, the Caltrans plan would be to conduct the demonstration using one or more existing boats. The state’s money would be used to operate the boats and enable coordination between the ferry and the other transportation modes in the region. Specifically, the state would not acquire a ferry. The purpose of the demonstration would be to make travelers and commuters in the region aware of modern high-speed ferry technology as an alternative form of transportation.
We at Mari-Flite are pleased the governor is behind this initiative and we look forward to working with Caltrans to successfully carry out the demonstration. We believe these modern ferries, which are growing in use throughout much of the world, can provide a new form of transportation that many in Southern California will find attractive. This will in turn lead to removing some of the traffic congestion from the freeways.
If the state’s demonstration is successful, we believe we can move forward quickly to offer ferry service without the need for major construction that other forms of transportation require.