HILTON HEAD ISLAND — Beaufort County wants to take a look at transportation options for Daufuskie Island.
County officials have proposed spending $50,000 to study long-term transportation plans for ferry service to the barrier island, The Island Packet of Hilton Head reported.
There are no bridges connecting Daufuskie with the mainland or Hilton Head.
County administrator Gary Kubic says he wants to talk with experts from New York, Seattle and other places with successful ferry service to come up with a long-term plan.
“It’s more than just moving people,” Kubic said. “Property values have dropped so dramatically on the island, and one of the factors outside of the economy is the constant threat of uncertainty (around) ferry transportation services.”
A preliminary report shows property values have dropped 40 percent over the past five years.
The county spends about $250,000 annually for the existing service. Final approval on money for the study and the regular operating budget for the ferry service could come June 24.
A private company, J&W Corp., provides two round trips from Hilton Head Island to Daufuskie most days. The county is negotiating a new contract with the company for the coming year.
The service is critical for hundreds of island residents, says ferry advocate and Daufuskie resident Aaron Crosby. He has suggested more trips each week and improvement in parking on Hilton Head island.
Kubic says he’s open to working with the Lowcountry Regional Transportation Authority and Chatham Area Transit, which could include routes to Savannah, Ga.
Residents of the Haig Point property on Daufuskie have access to the club’s private ferries to Hilton Head.