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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

St. Pete Council approves BP money for ferry and research vessel



What to do with $6.5 million from the BP settlement over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill has created plenty of friction between Mayor Rick Kriseman and the St. Petersbug City Council.

Kriseman unveiled a long list of projects in October, including a bike share program and an arts endownment. The council pushed back, saying fixing the city's deteriorating sewer system was more important.

But, on Thursday, middle ground--at least contingently-was struck.

The council unanimously approved earmarking $250,000 for a new Bellows research vessel and $350,000 for the pilot ferry project.

The money wouldn't be spent unless other partners contribute money. The state is expected to fund much of the $3 million needed to build the research vessel. And Kriseman said he's had positive discussions with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and county commissioners in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties about the ferry, which would run between October and the beginning of April. 

The ferry project would cost about $1 million to run one ferry and about $1.5 million for two vessels, Kriseman's preference.

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[Last modified: Thursday, December 3, 2015 10:59am]


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