Historic Ferryboat Might be Making Last Trip Between Fayette and
23 May 2013
By Liz Zemba
A 200-year-old ferryboat that crisscrosses the Monongahela River
may soon make its last trip between Fayette and Washington
Fayette County commissioners on Thursday voted unanimously to
cease operating the Fredericktown Ferry on Sept. 3, and Washington
County has no interest in running it without Fayette's help,
according to one of its commissioners.
The ferry shuttles pedestrians and vehicles. The two-minute trip
costs 50 cents for pedestrians and $2 per car, with higher rates
for trucks and larger vehicles.
Fayette and Washington counties have shared costs to run the
ferry, with Fayette taking on the added expense of employing
riverboat pilots and managing operations.
Fayette Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky proposed withdrawing
Fayette's support of the ferry because ridership numbers have
dropped by more than half since a bridge over the Monongahela
River opened last year.
The ferry went from generating $91,063 in fares in 2009 to $38,219
in 2012, according to Controller Sean Lally. It posted a $44,678
loss in 2012, and the two counties contributed a combined $155,112
toward its $238,009 operating expenses in 2012.
“With the cost of operating this, clearly, we're losing money,”
Zapotosky said. “We can't keep operating it with these losses.”
Zapotosky and Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink said they contacted
Washington County commissioners for their input but got no
response before the meeting.
Washington County Commissioner Chairman Larry Maggi said in an
email on Thursday that Washington County has no intention of
operating the ferry on its own.
“Since Fayette County is the lead county on operating the ferry,
we were waiting until they made their decision,” Maggi wrote. “As
of now, we do not have any plans on operating the ferry without
Fayette County's help.”
In the event Washington County wants to take over the boat's
operations, commissioners left in place an earlier resolution that
allowed for the use of a $970,000 federal grant to renovate the
Zapotosky said Fayette would not be interested in helping with a
20 percent match to the grant should it be used for renovations
that have been estimated between $400,000 and $1 million.
The ferry runs from 6:15 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. weekdays and 6:15 a.m.
to 1:45 p.m. on Saturdays.
Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be
reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.