74.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, January 29, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesGovernor Signs Bill to Grant Exclusive Ferry Franchise

Governor Signs Bill to Grant Exclusive Ferry Franchise

May 10, 2007 — A bill granting one local company an exclusive 15-year franchise to provide ferry service between St .Thomas and St. Croix was signed into law Thursday by Gov. John deJongh Jr.
“This step is taken to provide Virgin Islanders with another option for travel between the island districts, with the aim of lowering fares by introducing additional competition to such travel," deJongh wrote in a letter sent to Senate President Usie R. Richards explaining his decision.
Since the bill was introduced at a meeting held in late March, senators have argued whether or not the proposed franchise agreement for Aquatic Management LLC — doing business as V.I. SeaTrans — should have been put out to bid, allowing other local ferry companies the chance to present alternate proposals.
Others, such as Senate Minority Leader Ronald E. Russell, have questioned whether the Legislature has the authority to grant exclusive ferry franchises, or whether such proposals should be vetted through the Department of Property and Procurement or the V.I. Port Authority.
Still, the bill's supporters have argued that there is a need for reliable, and permanent, ferry service between the two islands. At a full Senate session held last month, Richards explained that agreement has been in the works for at least the past year and would allow the company to access the federal funds needed to subsidize the cost of a new boat and other expenses (See "Senate Approves Help for WAPA, Exclusive Franchise for Ferry Route").
During the April session, the bill narrowly made it through the full body, with eight senators voting in favor, four voting against and three abstaining.
Back Talk

Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.