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Ferry companies await County word on fares: Stand ready to waive fees for uniformed active military

Principals at both North and South ferry companies are open to implementing a newly signed law that would allow active members of the Armed Services to ride for free.

On Veterans Day, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed a bill initiated by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) and sponsored in the State Senate by Democratic Senators John Brooks and Andrew Gounardes, that authorizes county boards of supervisors to waive ferry fees for active members of the Armed Services when traveling in uniform during their terms of enlistment.

South Ferry President Cliff Clark said Mr. Thiele discussed the bill with him when he was structuring its language.

Mr. Clark, a veteran, said it has long been the practice at South Ferry to waive fees for members of Honor Guards coming to Shelter Island for funerals of military personnel, adding that he has always been supportive of the military.

“We are very much patriots,” he said.

He hadn’t yet read the final legislation the governor signed last week, but expects he would support the effort.

Similarly, Stella Lagudis, General Manager of the Heights Property Owners Corporation, which owns North Ferry, said, “Of course we will support whatever the county determines.”

The bill the governor signed last week was part of a package aimed at benefiting active members of the Armed Services and veterans.

“Our active service members and veterans have served a high calling to protect our democracy and freedoms, and now it is our turn to support them and their families,” Gov. Hochul said. “By signing these bills into law today, we are taking steps to ensure veterans and active duty military members have the benefits and resources they need, and the flexibility their circumstances require, to best take care of themselves and their families. New York’s veterans stood up for us, and we will continue to stand by them.”

In announcing the signing of his bill by the governor, Mr. Thiele said. “Our nation’s brave military personnel put their lives at risk every day for our country. I am proud to have sponsored this legislation on behalf of our dedicated service members within New York State.”