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Ferry service begins at former bridge site

Crown Point Supervisor Bethany Kosmider said Paterson's visit was a sign of the governor's commitment to the area.

"I am so pleased that the governor took time from his overwhelming schedule to travel to Crown Point and speak to the people about the upcoming ferry service," she said. "I know we appreciate all the work and dedication that has gone into this endeavor. Our time has come."

Moriah Supervisor Thomas R. Scozzafava thanked the governor in prepared remarks.

"On behalf of our constituents I want to express our sincere thanks to Gov. Paterson for the caring and compassion that he has shown during this very difficult period," Scozzafava said. "The closure of the Lake Champlain Bridge has caused untold hardships for many, and the opening of the new ferry crossing will help provide much needed relief."

The governor outlined the steps taken by New York State government, which arranged for public transportation and set up an economic assistance program for businesses, since the bridge closure. But none of those steps are enough, he said, for commuters forced to drive an extra 100 miles to and from work and appointments.

Paterson then announced the expansion of New York's $2.94 million Lake Champlain Bridge Economic Assistance Program.

The Essex County Industrial Development Agency will manage a Community Loan Fund for businesses affected by the bridge closure, he said. More information is available by calling the Empire State Development at 1-800-782-8369 or by email at champlainbridge@empire.state.ny.us People can also contact the Essex County IDA at 873-9114.

Business owners and industries affected by the Lake Champlain Bridge closure can also apply for economic assistance through the Retail Assistance Grant and Increased Travel Cost Grant/Transport Assistance Grant programs. Information on those programs is available online at www.empire.state.ny.us/ChamplainBridge/default.asp

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