U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell met with Vice Admiral Paul Zukunft of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) today to make him aware of the impact of the Coast Guard’s ferry operator certification requirements on his constituents in Jessamine, Fayette and Madison counties in Kentucky, and to discuss regulatory issues important to Kentucky’s inland waterways industry.
Known as the oldest continuously operated ferry west of the Appalachian Mountains, the Valley View Ferry is a small, cable guided ferry located on a non-navigable portion of the Kentucky River at the Jessamine, Fayette and Madison County lines.
The Valley View Authority contacted Senator McConnell regarding the difficulty they have experienced in trying to find licensed operators, as a result of burdensome USCG ferry operator certification requirements, in order to continue the important service they provide to the local community. Currently, Valley View Ferry operators are required to hold the same operating license as a towboat operator on the Mississippi River.
Senator McConnell requested today’s meeting on behalf of his constituents who rely on the Valley View Ferry to commute daily across the Kentucky River. Without the ferry, commuters could experience a significant increase in their daily travel time.
“I appreciate Vice Admiral Zukunft taking time to hear the concerns of my constituents regarding the future of the Valley View Ferry,” Senator McConnell said. “Hundreds of Kentuckians rely on this ferry to travel in the region and without it their daily commute between Lexington, Nicholasville and Richmond could be significantly affected. I also commend Congressman Barr for his efforts on the House side to help our constituents.”
Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) has advocated on behalf of the Valley View Ferry in the House of Representatives and secured a measure in the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 to include an exemption and licensing changes for the ferry. “I am grateful for Senator McConnell’s advocacy, which will be invaluable as we advance commonsense and practical solutions to over-burdensome licensing regulations that are threatening the closure of the historic Valley View Ferry,” Congressman Barr said.
Roger Barger, Chairman of the Valley View Ferry Authority, said in regards to the meeting, “The Valley View Ferry Authority greatly appreciates Senator Mitch McConnell taking time during his meeting with Vice Admiral Paul Zukunft of the U.S. Coast Guard to discuss the issues and problems that we have encountered in trying to find licensed operators for our ferry.”