Lake Erie ferry promoters undeterred by Lake Ontario failure

CLEVELAND (AP) - Promoters of Lake Erie ferry service between Cleveland and Port Stanley, Ontario, are undeterred by the failure of a Lake Ontario ferry between Rochester, N.Y., and Toronto.

Rochester's new mayor, Robert Duffy, rejected a $11.5 million loan request to bankroll the Lake Ontario ferry service this year.

Rochester's decision to halt its ferry service won't affect Cleveland, said Rose Ann DeLeon of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, which is pushing the local effort to start Lake Erie service by next year.

The uncertain future of the harbor at Port Stanley has contributed to delays. The municipality is trying to buy the property from the Canadian federal government.

Ownership must be settled before Royal Wagenborg, the Dutch company negotiating to operate the service, signs a contract.

Unlike Rochester, Cleveland's ferry would carry commercial traffic, as well as passengers.

A proposal for a Lake Erie ferry between Port Burwell, Ontario, and a port northeast of Cleveland also awaits news from Canada.

Grand River Mayor Chris Conley said progress was overshadowed by upcoming Canadian national elections.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)