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White's Ferry could reopen in 12 weeks once land dispute is resolved

A new study says reopening would have a $9 million economic impact in the first year.

LEESBURG, Va. — Getting Historic White’s Ferry going again between Montgomery County and Loudoun County would save people on both sides of the river more than a million dollars in travel costs next year alone, says a study released Thursday. 

According to the 140-page study, the overall economic impact would be $9 million in 2023, if the ferry is able to restart. The report is the first step towards restoring service, which was suspended in December 2020 because of a legal dispute over payment to the owners of the private land in Virginia where the Ferry lands.

After the shutdown, the Ferry was purchased by Leesburg businessman Chuck Kuhn, the owner of JK Moving.

In a statement, Kuhn said the study underscores the ferry's "importance to the region and also revealed the difficulties in maintaining and making the ferry a private successful enterprise as the previous owners recognized."

"The impasse has cost people time and money and added traffic and environmental woes to our community," Kuhn said. "We look to the counties to help us move forward and support whatever direction they deem best to get White’s Ferry working for our region."

RELATED: Montgomery, Loudoun residents discuss future of White's Ferry

Findings of the study included:

  • Restarting the ferry will have an immediate economic impact of about $9 million for residents on both sides of the river.
  • Much of that impact is tied to saved time and gas for people currently forced to drive the additional 17 miles needed to get from Leesburg to Poolesville without the ferry service.
  • It’s possible to restart in as little as 12 weeks if a legal dispute about paying the landowner on the Virginia side gets resolved. 
  • If the ferry were converted to a publicly owned facility it would likely require a taxpayer subsidy of about $3 million a year.

White's Ferry was established in 1786 and carried nearly 800 daily users before it was shut down.

You can see the full study here: 

RELATED: Virginia businessman has reached a deal to purchase historic White's Ferry

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