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Glen Cove fails to extend deadline to launch ferry service

Glen Cove has a Jan. 1 deadline to

Glen Cove has a Jan. 1 deadline to begin year-round ferry service to Manhattan. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

Glen Cove officials failed in their initial attempt to persuade the Federal Highway Administration to extend a deadline to start ferry service to Manhattan. The city faces the possibility of paying back up to $16.6 million in grants used to help build a ferry terminal and dredge Glen Cove Creek if service doesn’t begin in seven months.

“It was a productive meeting in which solutions were discussed but right now the deadline remains January 1, 2019,” a FHWA spokeswoman said in a statement, referring to the May 30 meeting with city officials. She said that “only after the deadline would we consider the matter of repayment.”

Mayor Timothy Tenke said the city will continue to seek the extension. Tenke said in an email that FHWA and New York State Department of Transportation officials “recognize the challenges the city is facing” with bulkhead installation and other Garvies Point project construction in the creek — from where boats would depart — and on land near the terminal, which was completed in 2016.

The Garvies Point development next to the terminal will include 1,110 apartments and condominiums, and Tenke is asking FHWA for a delay of at least one year in the deadline because, he argues, the construction would create hazards for ferry passengers. The state transportation department is involved because it administered the federal grants, city spokeswoman Lisa Travatello said.

Federal grants paid for most of the $22.5 million cost to construct the ferry terminal and perform related work, including building a ferry bulkhead and dredging the creek.

Tenke said the city’s “next steps are to share the city’s Ferry Action Plan and a modified timeline with them at a follow up meeting to be scheduled this summer.”

Travatello said the action plan is “the city’s short and long term plan for ferry service” and that the city is “consolidating our timelines and materials for the plan.” Asked for details of the action plan and timelines, Travatello said, “We have no further information to share at this time.”

Tenke said in a recent interview that the city has two bidders for ferry service, and Glen Cove will continue with plans to launch service by Jan. 1.

“We want to be ready to go if we are told there are no extensions,” he said.

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