DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Destin Mayor Bobby Wagner is considering a ferry system in southern Okaloosa County.
“What I’m hoping to do with this ferry system is to allow this to be more of a commercial-based option for people to go from commerce area to commerce area,” Wagner said.
He thinks this could reduce the number of vehicles traveling on a very busy Highway 98.
“This was a way to offload hopefully some 98 commercial traffic onto the ferry system,” Wagner said.
The first step is a $50,000 feasibility study. The Destin city council on Monday night approved almost $13,000 to go toward the study and they’re asking Fort Walton Beach to contribute the same amount and Okaloosa County to fund half of it.
Councilman Jim Bagby said he’ll support the study, but he doesn’t think a ferry will work in the area.
“I appreciate your passion,” Bagby said to Mayor Wagner. “I don’t think the ferry’s gonna work, but I’m willing to spend some money contingent on Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa County spending your recommended amount.”
Some councilmembers talked about the Pensacola Bay ferries saying it hasn’t been very successful.
“I’ve been watching Pensacola struggle to establish a ferry now for three or four years, and they have had quite a tussle with it, and they have a much larger population than we do, but I’ll support doing the study,” Councilman Dewey Destin said.
“Things in Pensacola might not work in Pensacola, but Fort Walton to Destin and Destin to Fort Walton is definitely a different town than Pensacola and whatever’s happening over there,” Councilman Kevin Schmidt said.
There’s no timeline yet for the study but now the city waits to see if Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa County are on board.