Pending border security issues that need to be resolved, a pilot program to transport pedestrians and bicyclists between Ogdensburg and Prescott, Ontario, on a ferry across the St. Lawrence River may be started this summer.
A committee has worked on the plan for about a year. Prescott Mayor Brett Todd attended a June 11 meeting of the Ogdensburg City Council to give an update.
“We’re asking the council of the city of Ogdensburg to formally support the 2019 pilot schedule of the Prescott Ogdensburg ferry project,” Mr. Todd told Ogdensburg officials, according to a story published June 11 by the Watertown Daily Times. “And I am also here to report some very positive progress on the ferry project from your friends in Prescott.”
The boat being proposed for use would hold 12 passengers and their bicycles. Canada Border Services Agency has offered to support the pilot program for two years free of charge.
“Mr. Todd reported that the draft report from a feasibility study was positive enough to convince the committee to move forward with a plan to conduct a pilot project this summer,” the article reported. “The committee is suggesting the weekend of July 19 to 21, which is Founders Weekend in Ogdensburg, and Aug. 2 to 4, which is a civic holiday in Ontario. The preliminary plan is four round trips on Saturday and Sunday and one or two round trips on Friday to catch an evening crowd, Mr. Todd said.”
Authorities with Canada Border Services Agency have been helpful with members of the committee. But Mr. Todd said that the same has not been true of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security.
Requests made by officials in Ogdensburg have been returned asking for new facilities and manpower. The committee viewed this as excessive, Mr. Todd said.
He told the Times that since people already cross the river using the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge, it shouldn’t be too much of a burden for U.S. border personnel to accommodate the request for a ferry.
Since only vehicles can use the bridge, it would be nice to have a way for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the river with a ferry. Ogdensburg officials want to contact federal legislators including U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, to spark more interest.
We hope federal authorities become more involved and are able to work out whatever problems they have. This is a worthwhile idea, and we hope those backing it are able to put their plan into effect.