While the immediate future of the Ste. Genevieve-Modoc Ferry looks bleak, the longer-term picture seems a bit brighter.
Ron Inman, chairman of the New Bourbon Regional Port Authority, reported that the ferry may have to shut down for the months of January and February due to low use and mounting costs.
In October, the ferry lost 26 operating days. It suffered a loss of $24,862 that month, while it lost $9,146 in November, running all but 2 1/2 days.
“Things are slow, slow, slow,” Inman said. “There’s a good chance we’ll run out of money. We may well have to shut down in January and February and start back up in March. It depends on how much somebody might want to stick in it. We’ll see.”
Inman said that this year’s Coast Guard Subchapter M regulation requirements have been met.
One bit of good news, Inman said, was that it appears the Coast Guard will not force the ferry to employ a second deckhand, thanks to its clean safety record. Inman had expressed concern at previous meetings that being forced to employ a second one would be catastrophic to the ferry’s budget.
“They were sure that with us being accident-free for all those years, they weren’t going to require the second deckhand,” he said, “but if we happened to have a bad accident, they’d have to enforce it.
“It sounds like we’ll be OK with one,” he added.
The port authority also is continuing to push elected representatives to fight for an increase in the ferry’s annual stipend from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). It has been $88,000 since its last increase in 2010.
Inman said nearly $20,000 was spent on compliance with the new Subsection M requirements in 2019, adding to the need for more operating funds. It is likely to cost $10,000 to $12,000 a year in the future to meet the higher standards.
See complete story in the December 18 edition of the Herald.