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Residents urge LCT to keep Essex ferry running

Burlington, Vt. resident Scott McIntyre said his job depends on ferry service and said LCT is a monopoly that should have some government regulation even though it is a private company.

"If the ferry closes down, I can't do my job," he said.

Many people brought up access to the Fletcher Allen Medical Center in Burlington. Some ferry users said those undergoing radiation and chemotherapy can't endure the car ride around the lake after treatment, and others pointed to a local teen in need of dialysis who is able to stay in school because of the ferry run.

All medical transfers to Fletcher Allen from the New York side of the lake are done by ambulance, meeting attendees said, making ferry service imperative in the event of an emergency. The nearest Life Flight service is the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, N.H. Like others, Mary-Nell Bockman, of Essex, said she and her husband moved to Essex because of the ferry. Access to jobs in Vermont via the ferry helped them make life choices. When marketing a business, Bockman said, taking care of repeat customers is mission-critical.

Having the ferry available increases traffic, which builds dependency, which increases ferry usage. Closing the ferry will have a negative effect on area businesses, real estate prices and quality of lives, said Essex resident Susan Bacot-Davis.

Sally Johnson, of Burlington and Essex said, "My heart is here. My graveyard is here. I am bitter at the idea of private profit at public expense."

Boisen said Ray Pecor agreed to meet with her and a few other representatives to discuss possibilities for the ferry.

Sayward and Lanpher said they would look into how a private business involved in public transportation might be effected by regulation.

"The long-term success of the community depends upon the ferry," said Buchanan. "This is our 'bridge.' We need it."

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