It was with great interest that I read the front page article in the Feb. 22 edition of the Observer-Reporter concerning the Fredericktown ferry as well as the editorial in the same edition that expressed your feelings about this issue. I was one of the readers who took former Commissioner Bracken Burns to task for his remarks a few years ago about the ferry. I would be remiss if I did not provide some remarks this time as well.
Your mention of a $900,000 grant for the ferry that has not been used puzzles me. Why, when funds are so tight, was this not utilized? A grant this sizeable was the result of a great deal of effort by someone. Perhaps the reason is that since the grant money was to benefit the southeastern portion of the county and not Southpointe it was deemed to be no big deal.
The notion of government tax money subsidizing transportation projects is not new. It happens constantly in this state with the Port Authority of Allegheny County and the Philadelphia Transit Authority. Tens of millions of dollars are doled out to these two entities to temporarily free them of their economic woes. It would have been a nice gesture by legislators to piggyback the budget of the ferry into the truckloads of cash sent to the urban transit systems. This amount would have been so small, in comparison, that it would hardly be thought to be of any consequence.
The Frederick is not just part of the history of Fredericktown. It is part of Washington County history, too. Just as David Bradford was not just part of the history of the city of Washington, his exploits are shared by all residents of this county. Our county tourism board should be promoting the Frederick so young and old can experience what life was like and is like along the primary stream of our country.
John E. Hart