Edward Silva, program manager for the FHA's Massachusetts division, said yesterday that he will give the two sides until Feb. 1 to come up with a service plan before recommending that the money be used in other states.
"In order to obligate money, we've got to have a project defined.We don't have that at this time," Mr. Silva
said."We have a serious divergence of opinion between the city and the authority about the (expanded ferry) service." Mr. Silva's action comes in the wake of the Steamship Authority's vote last month to postpone any planning for expanded ferry service until the current passenger boat from New Bedford, the Schamonchi, is on better financial footing. His
decision also comes in the wake of a vote last week by the Southeastern Metropolitan Planning Council giving the two sides 120 days to come up with a plan. New Bedford and the Steamship Authority were supposed to have settled on a high-speed plan by Sept. 30 in order to spend the money, which Sen.
said the Highway Administration has given the one-time extension only because it wants to help the region.It will not recommend additional time, he
said."We've given all the parties the benefit of the doubt," he
said."We could have sent the money back to Washington right now." Mr. Silva
added 30 days to the extension recommended by the planning council because he
did not think it was possible to devise a plan so quickly.
Mr. Leontire and Mr. Silva
said the bottom line is that neither the authority nor the city can spend the money unless it comes up with a plan that is acceptable to the other side.