The Block Island Times

Block Island Town Council opposes Quonset Point ferry

Sep 19, 2013

Despite input from some island residents that a new high-speed ferry would provide a healthy competition for Block Island's existing ferry companies, the Town Council voted 4-1 to oppose a proposed ferry service from Quonset Point to Block Island. Rhode Island Fast Ferry owner Charles Donadio said today that he still plans on moving ahead with his application.

The council said its reasons for opposing the service, which is being proposed by the North Kingstown-based company Rhode Island Fast Ferry, include the fact that the ferry has no docking space in Old Harbor. Rhode Island Fast Ferry is asking the town to possibly build a dock to accommodate it.

In addition, the service will be seasonal — it won't run in the wintertime — and it will not carry cars or heavy freight. Currently, Interstate Navigation is the only year-round ferry company that services the island, and it is also the only ferry that carries freight.

"It's hard to have position on the ferry when you don't know where it's going to land," said First Warden Kim Gaffett. "I agree competition is healthy, but the service we're talking about is not going to service the island year-round, and is not going to carry freight. It is asking us — the town — to build a dock for its service."

Gaffett made the motion to oppose the ferry application at a Wednesday, Sept. 18, council meeting. The opposition will be part of the Town Council's motion to intervene in the proposed ferry's application, which is currently before the R.I. Division of the Public Utilities and Carriers.

Town Councilor Sean McGarry was the only one who voted against the motion.

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