Wednesday, July 10, 2013
By Chris Sokoloski
After two unsuccessful attempts, Coast RTA finally got a letter of support from Georgetown County Council on Tuesday night to seek a federal grant to buy a ferry for Sandy Island.
Both previous votes had Council members Jerry Oakley, Bob Anderson, Austin Beard and Ron Charlton voting no, and chairman Johnny Morant, Lillie Jean Johnson and Leona Myers-Miller voting yes.
On Tuesday, Beard and Charlton changed their votes and supported the letter.
Coast RTA and the Waccamaw Transit Authority are trying to get a USDA Rural Development Grant to help pay for a ferry to and from the island, which is only accessible by boat.
The ferry and service would be owned and operated by Coast RTA, not Georgetown County.
Anderson would prefer building a bridge from the side of the island facing the Plantersville community.
“Is [a ferry] going to benefit everybody in the county?” he asked. “The answer is no.”
Anderson said this was the fourth time in the two-and-a-half years he’s been on Council that the Sandy Island transportation issue has come up. After a plan was put forward to accept a donation of a ferry from Alabama, that’s when he started doing his “due diligence.”
The ferry issue has been discussed for decades, but a boating accident that claimed the lives of three island residents in February 2009 gave the discussion a new sense of urgency.
Residents have been attending Council meetings throughout this year urging Council to help with transportation and improvements to docks on the mainland and island side of the river.
By Chris Sokoloski
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