Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cleveland Economic News: A Ferry to Ontario

You've probably been following this idea. The Plain Dealer's Maggi Martin reports today that an ombudsman group of NE Ohioans were in Canada this week and that Ontario has agreed to fund a rather expensive study regarding the validity of a ferry (cargo and passenger) from our Lake Erie shores to Ontario. Places like Ashtabula, Cleveland and Mentor are vying for the honor. The article says Ashtabula is ahead of the game because they already have the proper docking system. Cleveland's Port Authority is lobbying heavily. You can read about it here.

Maybe it's just me, but I say let the Ferry go to whomever can do it most cost effectively. It will help our Cleveland economy no matter where it is, imho. We can host the 3C Corridor rail plan!
Peace Out -3C


Anonymous said...

A ferry across Lake Erie may be a great idea ... or not. I would suggest that interested parties consider the experience (and mistakes) of the Lake Ontario ferry intended to link Rochester, NY and Toronto. Some details are here. In summary, the service didn't work out, the Rochester city government ended up with significant financial losses, and the ferry is now plying the waters between Spain and Morocco.

Cleveland Carole Cohen 3C said...

Thank you for the link...when I see something like this (fighting, mismanagement and cost ineffectiveness I do get you think they can learn from their mistakes? It sounds like this was just a passenger ferry? I got the impression the new proposal also includes cargo runs.

One thing is for sure: our highways can no longer support all the necessary cargo transport - so I was hoping this was a way to take up some of the slack in a cost effective way. Your link will help us follow along and see if this is a good step forward economically or not. It sounds like Toronto's up to speed now at least. I hate that nothing seems to be able to work intelligently! This seems like a good idea! Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

One of the problems with the Rochester-Toronto ferry was foregone revenue from its inability to carry trucks. The ferry was physically capable of carrying trucks, but couldn't because of unresolved problems with US Customs and Border Protection.

Some details of the ferry's problems are available here. You'll also note that there were real questions about the ferry's business plan from the beginning. ("The Rochester-Genesee Transportation Authority questioned the company's business plan two years [before the ferry shut down], but was eventually cut out of the deal.") But that didn't prevent substantial government investment.

If a ferry should come to NE Ohio, there should definitely be a complete and open business plan before the commitment of any public monies. Based on recent events, I'm not counting on it.