April 21, 2021

Montgomery County Applauds Loudoun County’s Efforts to Restore Potomac River Ferry Service

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has announced his full support for the actions authorized by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to support the reopening of a Potomac River ferry as a critical interstate transportation connection between Loudoun County, Va., and Montgomery County.

The two counties share a common goal of reestablishing daily ferry service. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is in close coordination with its counterparts in Loudoun County to identify technical solutions to reestablish this transportation connection. The collaborative efforts have been further supported by state and county elected officials and residents in local towns who have been most impacted by the closure of the long-running ferry at the end of 2020.

MCDOT will partner with Loudoun County to study available options for resuming ferry service between the two counties. The study will include options for restoring service at the historic White’s Ferry location. Ferry service across the Potomac River is recognized by both Maryland and Virginia as an important part of the region’s transportation network. Prior to closing, White’s Ferry transported approximately 600 to 800 vehicles per day across the river and connected bicyclists and pedestrians between the two counties.

The joint study will evaluate White’s Ferry’s past and potential operations, as well as possible land acquisition scenarios, to support reestablishing a connection on the Virginia side. The study will evaluate short- and long-term possibilities for resuming ferry service and will include consideration of economic development opportunities and operating scenarios to maximize public access and benefits from the connection.

The joint study will be led by MCDOT and the Loudoun County Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure. The study’s scope will include:
  • Roadway access and ferry use along with any other pertinent transportation issues.
  • Identifying legal and regulatory requirements associated with ferry operations.
  • Landing site improvements and landing location options.
  • Operating alternatives that may include a public/private partnership.
The study is expected to begin within the next 30 days and be completed within 90 days of the start date.

“Restoring the operation of a Potomac River Ferry between Montgomery County and Loudoun County as soon as possible is critically important to reducing travel times to and from Virginia for many of our residents,” said County Executive Elrich. “This connection across the Potomac will also provide more Virginians access Montgomery County businesses and our growing agritourism sector. Plus, the ferry ride is just plain fun. I am grateful for the work and partnership between the Loudoun County and Montgomery County transportation departments, and I am also deeply appreciative of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors for their support of these efforts. Our residents on both sides of the Potomac River need this ferry service to resume quickly.”

White’s Ferry ceased operations on Dec.28, 2020, following a Circuit Court opinion in a lawsuit over the use of private land for the ferry landing in Virginia. Since the closure, Montgomery County, Loudoun County and both states have actively engaged with each other and with the owners of the ferry and property on which the landing in Virginia is located to facilitate a resolution between the private parties involved.

"Restoring this critical transportation connection across the Potomac River is essential to our regional mobility, economy, and quality of life," said Montgomery County District 1 Councilmember Andrew Friedson. "Regional solutions require regional collaboration and we are grateful to Loudoun County for partnering with us, along with our state and local partners, so we can return the ferry service to our residents and businesses need as quickly as possible.”

Loudoun County and Montgomery County strongly support the resolution of issues between private parties to reestablish daily ferry service as soon as possible.