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Kettler and MetroMarine Test “Potomac River Express” Passenger Ferry Service

Could Help Relieve Congestion on Route 1 and I-95 Corridors

October 29, 2007

Kettler, one of greater Washington, DC’s largest diversified real estate companies and Alexandria-based MetroMarine Holdings announced the successful trial run of “Potomac River Express” passenger ferry service on the Potomac River from Quantico, VA to the Navy Yard in Washington, DC. In order to test the service from a location with direct river access, the trial originated from the Quantico Marine Base, but ultimately a ferry terminal would be built north of the base on privately owned land adjacent to the VRE. Chartered for the Potomac River trial was the MS Provincetown III, a 100-foot, 149 passenger ferry that regularly operates between Boston, MA and Providence, RI. The overall trip from Quantico, VA to the Navy Yard in Washington, DC was approximately 55 minutes each way.

“This passenger service on the Potomac River has been a vision for Prince William County since the late ‘90s. If anyone can make this a reality, it’s Kettler,” said Hilda Barg with the Prince William County Board of Supervisors for Woodbridge.

Kettler and MetroMarine, which develops and operates passenger ferry services in the Mid-Atlantic States, have been exploring opportunities for passenger service on the Potomac River for three years. Now, growth in population and traffic in the I-95 corridor have brought new urgency to the water transit plan.

“River travel has the ability to take some pressure off roads and rail,” says Richard W. Hausler, President of Kettler. “With base realignment and growth of the defense employment along the I-95 corridor, it’s all the more important to broaden options for travel to Washington, DC and the Pentagon.”

The private-sector funded trial run proved successful and next steps could include a demonstration project followed by an actual pilot program of ferry passenger service for civilian, DOD and uniform services commuters from Eastern Prince William to strategic locations in Washington, DC.

According to Alan Gray of MetroMarine, “This initial trial enables officials to evaluate the service before implementing it.” He adds “the ferry is just one link in a transit system, so its ultimate success will depend on infrastructure and intermodal developments at each end of the river trip."

A 2000 study and survey conducted for the Virginia Department of Transportation found public interest in a high speed passenger ferry boat service on the Potomac, and recommended that public agencies work with private ferry operators to integrate high speed passenger ferry boat service with the roads-and-rail public transportation system.

“We can expect this new mode of transportation to not only alleviate commuter traffic but also encourage tourism to and from Prince William County,” said Frank Principi, Chairman of the Prince William County Future Commission.

The October 25, 2007 route-proving exercise was held to validate speed and wake-wash data that reflect real world operations. The vessel used in the “Potomac River Express” demonstration is typical of the multi-hull design that is believed to ideal for the Potomac River conditions. The MS Provincetown III is environmentally friendly, and its ambient noise and wake profiles are well suited to river operations. With newer "clean" diesel engine technologies and water jet propulsion, a similar catamaran passenger ferry is thought to be the best choice for public transit.

Barg closed the trip by adding, “If the ferry runs this smoothly on a day like today with high winds and rain, this really could be a go!”

About Kettler Based in Northern Virginia and celebrating the 30th anniversary of its founding in 1977 by Chairman Robert C. Kettler, Kettler is a leading developer of award-winning, mixed-use residential and commercial properties across the Washington Metropolitan area. In 2007, Kettler was named one of the area’s largest private companies by the Washington Business Journal and is one of the nation’s top 20 multifamily developers. Kettler has developed more than five million square feet of commercial space and more than 50,000 homes. The company also owns and manages over 9,000 apartments in 41 locations. Current projects include urban and transit-oriented developments, multifamily housing, commercial and mixed-use developments and resort communities. www.kettler.com

About MetroMarine Holdings MMH has designed public-private ferry partnerships in several locations and has an unmatched management team of experienced people. In the Mid-Atlantic States MMH is joint ventured with Hornblower Marine Services, the nation's pre-eminent third party marine operator, now managing services across the country, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. This team has a background of several successful ferry start-ups, and is prepared to bring this experience to Potomac waterways.