Linking Baltimore and Annapolis to the Eastern Shore by ferry could help offset traffic resulting from the military expansion in Maryland and encourage economic development in small bayside communities, according to a report released this week by ferry proponents.
The draft report, which was sent to Gov. Martin O'Malley, also suggested that a passenger ferry service could be expanded to Aberdeen, where a recent study predicted that the base realignment procedure will bring 27,600 jobs.
The study by the ad hoc committee of transportation engineers and ferry experts urged more study of a ferry's costs and its impact on the environment, the Bay Bridge and the Baltimore economy.
Last month, O'Malley instructed the state Department of Transportation to study the possibility of a network of ferries linking Maryland's shores.
The initial proposal calls for a two-vessel service from downtown Baltimore to Rock Hall or Kent Island, then to Annapolis City Dock, with fares ranging from $7 to $12 each way and a travel time of 20 to 90 minutes, depending on the route.
Ferry commuters would feed into shuttle and bus services in Baltimore and Annapolis.
The group projects that 25,000 passengers a year would take the Baltimore-Eastern Shore route and 40,000 the Eastern Shore-Annapolis leg.
Traffic on the Bay Bridge, which carries about 25 million vehicles a year, would decline by 200 vehicles on workdays, the study estimated.