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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Contact: Doug Hecox, 202-366-0660
FHWA 19-04e

U.S. DOT Grant to Fund Erie, Pennsylvania, to Ontario Ferry Service

Travel between Erie, Pennsylvania and Ontario will get easier, thanks to a new $240,705 Federal Highway Administration grant for high-speed ferry service across Lake Erie, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.

"This funding will give travelers a new route to Canada and take pressure off busy border crossings," said Secretary Mineta. "As our economy continues driving ahead, the Bush Administration continues investing in projects that fuel opportunity and prosperity in communities across America."

Analysts predict the Erie region will see dramatic economic benefits from the new ferry service's estimated 700,000 passengers each nine-month sailing season and the creation of more than 125 new operations jobs and 300 development jobs. Plans for the ferry service, slated to begin in 2006, include a high-speed catamaran capable of carrying 325 passengers and 75 cars.

Providing high-speed ferry service across Lake Erie helps ease traffic congestion at the Canadian border at Buffalo, NY, and Detroit, MI, Mineta said. Canada is the United States' largest trading partner, with half coming through Ontario.

The service could potentially eliminate more than 10 million vehicle miles traveled each year between Erie and Buffalo, greatly improving air quality, particularly during the summer months when ozone and smog formation are more likely.

"President Bush knows that transportation investments are ensuring that goods make it to store shelves, and helping Pennsylvanians get to their jobs and home again safely and on time," said Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters.

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