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new ferry for STX-STT?

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LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

Sad truth is that it is not economically practical to run ferry service between STX and STT without government subsidy. Operators who have tried have failed.

this would be run by the dept of transportation... so it will be a government function & the boat is "free" with 6 mill in funds avalible for any needed retro fits...

sounds like a pretty good deal all around to me.

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Posted : March 21, 2013 12:28 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

If it is such a "good deal" why hasn't it already been snatched up!?

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Posted : March 21, 2013 3:20 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

If it is such a "good deal" why hasn't it already been snatched up!?

bids are not being accepted until the 29th of this month, this will be the first opertunity.

Originally Alaska had planned on using the ferry but major government failures (imagine that, the VI isn' tthe only place.. .haha) caused a doc project to become a multi-million dollar sink hole. the entire thing was scrapped a few years ago and the ferry has been sitting idle since...

they JUSt decided to get rid of it now because the 90k a year in insurance / maintence (mostly insurance) was a budget item that was too hard to justify.

so, with a little more info on the table I'm sure you'll agree this will be a huge "gift" to the VI if they can pull their shit together and write a decent proposal; as far as I know this is the only prospect that wants to use it for its intended purpose, which gives the VI a high chance of getting it.

it's a free prototype ferry built for the harsh conditions of the arctic, and we'd get it for free.... I'd say that's a DAMN good deal.

I used to be pretty active in local politics untill I decided it was all just a joke/waste of time/good old boys club/corrupt crap.

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Posted : March 21, 2013 5:04 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

The operating expenses would still have to be paid. I'm telling you there is not enough traffic to warrant the expense. A round trip from STT to STX on the ferry is 3 hours on a good day, can be more if seas are rough. If the seas are rough enough, trips are cancelled on short notice, meaning passengers can be "trapped" on the other island overnight. Given that the seaplane is an hour RT and only about twice the cost, most people opt for the plane ride.

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Posted : March 21, 2013 7:46 pm
VT2VI
(@vt2vi)
Advanced Member

If they were to provide minimal cargo service to offset the costs it could work.

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Posted : March 21, 2013 8:53 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

I hate to sound like a broken record but when has anything VI Government run, been run properly and made $$?

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Posted : March 21, 2013 9:24 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

I hate to sound like a broken record too but over the last couple of decades I can't remember exactly how many highly qualified and experienced ferry operators have tried to make this route work and have failed. As Linda J said in a nutshell, there's just not enough traffic to make it a viable proposition. We now have way more air options than many years ago and a quick and easy hop by air far beats the often-experienced passage over open, deep and often very rough water on what have been affectionately dubbed, "The Vomit Comet" or "The Barf Barge".

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Posted : March 22, 2013 3:23 pm
VT2VI
(@vt2vi)
Advanced Member

I like The Vomit Comit! 🙂

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Posted : March 22, 2013 3:26 pm
JE
 JE
(@je)
Advanced Member

I think one of the major benefits of this ferry is that it is capable of carrying vehicles. From a business standpoint it would allow small businesses to expand to the other islands. Currently it is simply impractical if your business requires equipment transportation from one island to the other but if all you had to do was load up your truck and hop on the ferry, the vast majority of the logistics problems would be eliminated. It would also make going over to the other islands for a mini vacation much more convienent if you could take your own car. Regarding subsidizing the cost, it is certainly not uncommon for the ferry systems operating in the states. For example, there are vehicle ferry systems between Jamestown and Surry, Virginia, and between Ocracoke and Hatteras, NC that are free to the public, so they are certainly not self sufficient. While I am confident it will operate less than perfectly and will cost more than anticipated, I think the possible benefits far outweigh the risks.

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Posted : March 26, 2013 5:34 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Hey, now that would be great to take your car over to STX for the weekend!
Maybe while they are installing a submarine cable to get power to the VI from PR they could build a bridge between the islands, too!
After all we have plenty of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to spend.

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Posted : March 27, 2013 12:40 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Despite the territory being worse than broke, we are watching an astonishing display of contracts being issued at staggeringly excessive costs, both by WAPA and WMA. They are plundering as much as they can knowing they will be GONE when this gov goes.

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Posted : March 27, 2013 3:36 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

Despite the territory being worse than broke, we are watching an astonishing display of contracts being issued at staggeringly excessive costs, both by WAPA and WMA. They are plundering as much as they can knowing they will be GONE when this gov goes.

This is a common tactic in troubled economies, increasing government spending to help keep the economy alive; it's not a very good stratigy & never lasts long; but it seems to be tried by every government in times like this.

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Posted : March 27, 2013 5:25 pm
conchadoo
(@conchadoo)
Advanced Member

I just looked up WAPA, no new unfunded projects out for bid, No RFP, RFQ, or IFB for 2013.

The WMA has trucks in for repair and has only asked customers for assistance and change the size of containers to be picked up, No RFP.RFQ or IFB either.

These are public advertised categories couldn't find one.

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Posted : March 27, 2013 10:41 pm
JE
 JE
(@je)
Advanced Member

I think it is overly simplistic to think the solution to a financial crisis is to stop spending money on anything new. You just can't hide under a rock and expect things to get better. A better solution is to constantly analyze and reprioritize your spending. There are always ways to reduce spending and still free up money for things that are deemed more important than others. The problem is that there are always differing opinions on what is more important. While it is easy and popular to act as if all governments and government employees are inept, and many are, there are also many within a government who really do try to do their job well. And no, I am not a government employee.

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Posted : March 28, 2013 1:47 pm
VT2VI
(@vt2vi)
Advanced Member

JE, that is spot on. I AM a government employee. And there seem to be plenty that feel because they are that they no longer need to work hard. It is very difficult to get rid of permanent employees and they know it. We were just discussing this very topic of spending this morning. We are looking at furloughs, yet some seem to get raises. Way over our pay grades of course but still, we lose pay and some at the top of govt are getting more.

We already subsidize many programs here, so why not something that will do the islands some good. Even if it isn't making money. Like others have said, being able to bring your car to STT instead of renting. Or being able to cheaply bring goods back and forth vs paying shipping to a 3rd party. just my 2c on it.

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Posted : March 28, 2013 2:02 pm
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