By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
City of Lynn officials and members of the Lynn statehouse delegation were disappointed this week at the news that the Seaport Economic Council has denied the city’s request for $700,000 in Seaport Council funds to provide an operating subsidy for a third season of ferry service in 2016.
The disappointing news was delivered by Deputy Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), Carolyn Kirk, who explained that the Seaport Council’s pool of available funding – $14.5 million for the current fiscal year – had already been awarded to other projects by the time the City of Lynn’s application was received.
Lynn State Senator Thomas McGee, the chairperson for the legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation, chastised state officials for not awarding the funds to the city, and noted the potential for ferry service to open new access to Lynn from Boston.
“I would argue that ferry service from Lynn is a critical piece of public transportation, it’s not fluff,” said McGee. He added that the long-term viability of ferry service in Lynn, and for that matter any public transit service, is based on reliability of the service.
Congressman Seth Moulton joined the state senator in bemoaning the loss of the service for this year.
“Reliable ferry service has been proven to help spur economic development,” said Moulton. “That’s why my team worked so hard to secure funding for a new 149-passenger ferry vessel for Lynn.
Congressman Moulton’s efforts in the U.S. Congress resulted in a $4.5 million federal ferry award for Lynn, which will help the city purchase a new ferry boat to establish the service to Boston in the years to come. The planned vessel is currently under construction.
In a statement released by EOHED spokesman Paul McMorrow, “the administration looks forward to working with its local, state and federal partners to focus on the long-term sustainability of commuter ferry service in Lynn.”