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The good news is that Utah's lone ferry — which operates between Hall's Crossing and Bullfrog marinas on Lake Powell — won a $300,000 federal grant for maintenance on its engines and hull and rehabilitation of its docks.

The bad news is that Utah Department of Transportation officials say the ferry will likely close at the end of December until April to allow the work.

The Utah Transportation Commission approved that work on Thursday but raised questions of whether the boat is worth its subsidy, which members said sometimes has been between $100,000 and $200,000 a year.

UDOT Executive Director John Njord said the department has worked with contractors to try to keep the subsidy to about $50,000 a year. "That's manageable," he said.

Njord added that the state in recent years sold one of the two ferries that had been operating on Lake Powell, "which cut our subsidy in half." He said that boat is now operating in British Columbia.

Njord also said the state is looking to cut back ferry operations during winter in future years to save on costs.

Jeffrey Holt, chairman of the commission, said that no ferries operating in the United States do so without a subsidy.

The ferry charges $25 for vehicles less than 20 feet in length but may save hundreds of miles in driving, depending on the destination.