Monday, June 25, 2018

State offering 3 months to ferry operator

Just ahead of a scheduled meeting Monday with Cave In Rock Ferry officials, Kentucky Department of Transportation announced that it is willing to provide additional funding to keep the ferry going beyond owner Lonnie Lewis’s deadline for closing it without what he calls adequate funding from Kentucky and Illinois.

Lewis has said the ferry will close July 1, at least temporarily, unless additional funding is provided to meet greater costs and government regulations that go into effect next month.

A news release was issued by Kentucky Department of Transportation about an hour and half before a 1pm meeting was to take place in Paducah between area leaders, transportation department officials and the ferry operator. It remains to be seen whether Lewis will accept this offer, which provides more funding for three months – during the busy summer travel season. Lewis was en route to the meeting in Paducah and unavailable for comment. It was not clear whether he was immediately aware of the three-month offer.

Keith Todd, spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Transportation, said the ferry owner has not agreed to the terms at this time.

Here is the news release issued by Kentucky Department of Transportation: The ferry operator’s self-imposed July 1 deadline does not allow adequate time for necessary funding justifications to be made to the Ohio River Authority and supporting transportation agencies. To ensure the mobility of residents in the area while a further evaluation of expenses is conducted, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Illinois Department of Transportation have offered additional funds to the Ohio River Authority to maintain Cave-In-Rock Ferry operations for the next three months. This allows a more reasonable timeframe to appropriately review the expenses needed to maintain the ferry operations of LRL Inc. (Cave-in-Rock Ferry) while limiting the immediate impact to travelers during the busy summer season.