State promises to reimburse Winona for ferryby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota's Transportation Commissioner said Monday the state will reimburse the city of Winona for the money it is spending on ferry service across the Mississippi River.
The ferries were needed after MnDOT closed the Highway 43 bridge in Winona for 12 days because of safety concerns. The bridge re-opened over the weekend to limited traffic, but ferries continue for pedestrians and bicycles.
The city says the ferries cost more than $14,000 dollars a day, and MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel told lawmakers the state will help out.
"We will make the community whole. We have investigated how we're going to fund those costs and we have committed to reimburse the community for those transit costs. We've looked at various options on how to do that, but we will do that," Sorel said.
Customers pay a fee to ride the ferries, and the fare covers some of the costs.
Sorel says MnDOT is working on a policy dealing with the costs that communities like Winona incur during emergency closures. He says then cities will know ahead of time whether they'll be reimbursed.