Mayor Ken Welch Issues Statement on Cross Bay Ferry Development

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St. Petersburg, FL — St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch is responding to a Pinellas County Commission vote Tuesday to renegotiate an interlocal agreement between them, Hillsborough County and the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa for operation of the Cross Bay Ferry.  

 Specifically, the Commission voted to delegate authority to County Administrator Barry Burton to issue a letter terminating the current interlocal agreement, which is the only legal way to reopen negotiations for the agreement as outlined when the current contract was approved in September 2021. 

Said Mayor Welch: “The Cross Bay Ferry for years now has served as an innovative transportation option to get from downtown St. Pete to downtown Tampa and avoid traffic congestion and unpredictable travel times on our bridges. The Ferry is an economic driver for cultural attractions and small businesses, as well as a job supporter as it induces locals and visitors alike to cross the bay and spend money within each of our communities. Increasing ridership and public sentiment for the service evidences the need to continue the service and make it a sustainable transportation option for the long term. Importantly, our city acknowledges the need for full and consistent participation and information-sharing among all partners, including Pinellas County, and we are optimistic we will be able to work together to craft an updated agreement. Let’s be mindful that the system must grow beyond what it is today to make a major impact on public transportation and traffic congestion, and there are many other pressing transportation needs that will require cooperation and investment, not the least of which is improving our primary bus service.”