Water-Related News

Commissioners approve $125,000 for MacDill ferry study

By Will Hobson

TAMPA — A multimillion-dollar proposal to launch a high-speed ferry service crossing Tampa Bay inched forward Wednesday as Hillsborough County commissioners approved spending up to $125,000 to study its feasibility.

The ferry would primarily shuttle MacDill Air Force Base employees who live in southern Hillsborough to the base from a terminal near Apollo Beach. Routes linking downtown Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg on nights and weekends could be added.

Most of the money commissioners approved spending Wednesday — $100,000 of the $125,000 — will go to HMS Ferries Inc. and South Swell Development Group LLC, the private groups behind the proposal represented by lawyer and former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik. Some of that money will cover research Turanchik's clients already did for their unsolicited bid. The remaining $25,000 will cover any costs the county incurs as it researches the ferry.