Everyone at UR complains that Rochester is boring, and there’s nothing to do for fun. Future students may disagree, since a decision made this Monday has opened a whole nation of opportunity for future students. After a year of negotiations, New York state government has pledged $14 million in grants and loans to get a fast ferry running between Rochester and Toronto, Canada. The ferry will shuttle people and cars across Lake Ontario, and may be up and running as early as this August. This grant money will be added to funds already raised for this project, nearing $70 million.

This is important news, because it has the possibility of having a very positive impact on UR and the city of Rochester as a whole. According to a report in the Sept. 10 issue of the “Democrat and Chronicle,” the ferry could bring 1,320 jobs to the city and result in $46 million in tourist spending in the area within the first year. The influx of money and tourists can help Rochester raise its national profile, and improve the social and cultural opportunities within the city. The state of New York has made a decision that will benefit all of its residents, and it should be applauded.

Having people come to the city can only improve life here. The city now has more of an incentive to improve its public transportation system, and entrepreneurs should be quick to open new restaurants and clubs in anticipation of Canadian visitors. Visitors from Toronto may only stay a day or two, but the permanent improvements made to Rochester will benefit those of us who live in the city full-time.

The opportunity to easily travel to Canada will also provide UR students with a wide array of new activities to do on the weekend or during a break from school. A ride on the ferry will be a little pricey at $25 to $29 per person, but once in Canada, the exchange rate makes everything in Toronto much cheaper because of the strength of the American dollar. Toronto is a bustling, metropolitan city with a lot of social and cultural opportunities to offer visitors. And for any students who need reminding, the drinking age is lower in Canada, so that fact alone can provide hours of entertainment.

The decision to make the fast ferry a reality was a good one, and the ferry will improve life for people on both sides of Lake Ontario. UR students who are around when the ferry is launched should not miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of it.

DeSantis can be reached at kdesantis@campustimes.org.

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