RIDOT looks to revive Providence-Newport ferry service

Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri, far left, looks on as his wife, Sue, prepares to christen the new high-speed ferry "Ocean State" Thursday, July 3, 2003, in Providence, R.I. The ferry will provide daily service between Providence and Newport, R.I. Man at middle is unidentified. (AP Photo/Victoria Arocho)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — Rhode Island Department of Transportation officials are interested in bringing back a daily ferry service that would link Providence to Newport, Eyewitness News has confirmed.

Transportation officials are searching for a company to run the proposed seven-day-a-week ferries that would run from a site on India Point to Newport’s Perotti Park beginning July 1.

The proposed ferry would be the first to run from Providence to Newport since 2009, when the Rhode Island Public Transit Agency canceled its seasonal route due to the lack of federal funding.

DOT spokesman Charles St. Martin says the new ferry service would cater to both casual summer visitors and commuters. He released the following statement to Eyewitness News on Wednesday.

“While RIDOT has received positive feedback on the proposed ferry service, the ultimate arbiter of the financial viability of the service will be determined by the proposals received from private ferry operators. Much of this depends on the availability of boats for the upcoming summer. Owners position their boats for service where they can be most successful and their deployment can change from year to year. Given the historic parking issues in Newport during the busy summer tourism season, and the quick rail connection to Boston in Providence, RIDOT believes that a Providence to Newport ferry could be both viable and generate significant economic activity in both cities.”

The DOT’s request for proposals stipulates that the ferry would have to run between 10 a.m. and midnight at a minimum.

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