STE. GENEVIEVE -- The Ste. Genevieve - Modoc Ferry has shut down. The ferry suspended operations April 28 after both the Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen and Ste. Genevieve County Commission turned down requests for bailout funding.
The ferry had sought $10,000 from the county and $3,000 from the city.
Ron Inman of the New Bourbon Regional Port Authority, which operates the ferry, announced the suspension April 29. He did not say how long the ferry would be shut down.
Inman said it's ironic that the ferry has to shut down at the same time the number of ferry customers is on the rise.
He said the ferry had double the number of passengers from December through February, compared to the same time period last year.
In the meantime, the County Commission announced it was sending a letter to Inman endorsing the port authority's Missouri Delta Authority application being submitted by the port authority to the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The application requests $50,000 to support the ferry.
The House-passed budget also includes money for the New Bourbon Regional Port Authority and other ports in Southeast Missouri.
According to published reports the the House approved $469,987 in the Department of Transportation's budget to subsidize operating expenses at the state's 12 port authorities. Five of those are in Southeast Missouri and share 68 percent of the state's total spending on ports.
The amount endorsed by the House for the fiscal year beginning July 1 would maintain funding at the level appropriated for the current fiscal year.
In his original budget proposal, Gov. Bob Holden stripped port funding from MoDOT's budget but called for tapping the state Rainy Day Fund to preserve $400,488 in spending, about 85 percent of what was appropriated for this year.
The House budget relies on about $75 million from the state's reserves to balance income and expenses.
If port funding is eliminated from the budget, it is said six ports under development, including those in Mississippi County and New Bourbon, would shut down.
In addition, ferry service offered by those port authorities also would be eliminated.
Southeast Missouri's three fully operational ports in New Madrid, Pemiscot and Scott counties would survive by shifting money they receive in fees from capital improvements to operations.