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Staten Island residents have chosen Spirit of America as the name for a new ferry scheduled to begin carrying commuters to and from the island next year.

They selected the name in a survey conducted by the newspaper the Staten Island Advance at the request of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who announced the name Sunday with Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall.

The Spirit of America is the last of three new ferries being added to the fleet. The Guy V. Molinari is scheduled to launch in a few months, once the U.S. Coast Guard has approved its operation. The Sen. John J. Marchi is scheduled to arrive at the St. George ferry terminal in December.

Molinari is a former Staten Island borough president. Marchi was named the State Senate's assistant majority whip in January 2003.

The new ferries will replace ferries that have been in operation for nearly 40 years.

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