PORTSMOUTH — In a move that would bring a competing ferry service one step closer to reality, the town is applying for a license from the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) to build a dock for a ferry on town-owned property on Prudence Island.
Town Council President James Seveney announced the decision Monday night following an executive session on “Prudence Island/ferry service.”
The agenda item cited a section of the state Open Meetings Act which allows private discussions “related to possible disposition of publicly held property wherein advanced public information would be detrimental to the interest of the public.”
The council has been in private negotiations with A&R Marine Corp., which was granted a conditional certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) from the R.I. Division of Public Utilities and Carriers in February to operate a ferry between Bristol, Prudence Island and Hog Island.
That paved the way for A&R Marine, doing business as Prudence & Bay Islands Transport, to compete with the existing ferry service, Prudence Island Ferry, which has been the sole ferry provider since the mid-‘80s.
The town and A&R Marine are negotiating a lease for the town-owned property adjacent to the Prudence Island Ferry landing at Homestead on Prudence. On Monday, Mr. Seveney would not reveal any details of the negotiations, saying they’re ongoing. The decision to apply for a CRMC license to build the dock was the only vote taken, he said.
As for the ferry landing on the Bristol side, it’s still unclear which company will be granted a lease by the Town of Bristol for the summer. The existing lease with Prudence Island Ferry expires June 14.
On April 30, the Bristol Town Council met in executive decision to discuss the matter, but no action was taken.