By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
There was good news and bad news coming out of the April 27 New Bourbon Regional Port Authority(NBRPA) Board meeting in Perryville.
The bad news was there was no quorum, so no official actions could be taken.
The good news was, there were some positive things the group could have taken action on.
Margaret Yates, grant specialist for the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission (SEMO RPC), reported that she and Chairman Ronnie Inman had received some unexpected good news from Cheryl Ball, fright and waterways administrator for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) concerning the Ste. Genevieve-Modoc Ferry.
The ferry has been grounded this spring after a Coast Guard inspection revealed some significant work that has to be done before it will pass inspection. The ferry, which operates on an $88,000 annual stipend, has always lost money, and has had an especially difficult time since Coast Guard Sub-Chapter M regulations had added difficult and expensive new requirements.
It was feared that the ferry might be doomed.
“We had the discussion of whether the ferry was going to stay in business,” Yates said. “We had Cheryl Ball on the phone. Se said,’ ‘I think maybe I can help you with that.’”
Ball informed Yates and Inman that NBRPA could get $260,000 in federal highway funds that are set aside for ferries and another $40,000 left over Capital Improvement Program (CIP) money set aside for ports.
“We have that set aside so that the repair of the ferry can happen,” Yates said.
It was also established that since it is for maintenance, it will not have to be paid back.
Yates then noted to Ball that the ferry still “operated in the red,” struggling to survive.
“Then she said, ‘Maybe I can help you with that, too,’” Yates said.