updated 7/1/2009 9:07:43 PM ET 2009-07-02T01:07:43

The nation's last known hand-poled ferry has gotten a reprieve to keep it afloat for three more months.

The 140-year-old Hatton Ferry on the James River in Virginia risked extinction after state transportation authorities cut its funding last month.

But county officials in the Blue Ridge foothills where the ferry is located came to the rescue Wednesday. Albemarle County's board of supervisors approved $9,340 to keep the ferry running through September.

A local official says the money is a one-time thing and he hopes a private or non-profit group might come forward to cover future expenses.

The Hatton Ferry has operated since 1870, connecting backroads in rural Virginia just a short drive from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello mountain estate.

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