Parking illegally will cost you more in Aquinnah next year, but the roads you use to get your ticket may be better.
The selectmen Tuesday approved a $50 fine for most tickets, up from a range of $10 to $15, and maintained $100 fines for parking in handicapped spots and for parking on the beach and dunes. They also approved a plan to file for federal highway funding available for roads used by tribal members.
Stephen Berlucchi of the joint transportation committee of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission told the selectmen that the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs has an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration to partially fund road improvements and construction on roads used by Native Americans for work, commuting, shopping and that are emergency routes to hospitals and medical care.
“I really recommend this program. Your town seems to need some funding,” Mr. Berlucci said, noting that the town’s role is simply to allow the tribe to add qualifying roads to a list to be submitted as part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs road system.
“Four Island towns participate now,” Mr. Berlucci said, adding that “Oak Bluffs and Tisbury received a million dollars to rehabilitate the drawbridge between the towns.” Aquinnah and Chilmark do not participate in the program.
Mr. Berlucchi also recommended the town participate in a road reclassification system by population that would qualify the town for 100 per cent state highway funding under a federal Department of Transportation program, also managed through the Federal Highway Administration system and managed by the Massachusetts Highway Department.
Under this program, the Island summer population would be included, increasing the 15,000 year-round resident population to 100,000 seasonal population for purposes of road use and population criteria.
“The town of Tisbury has volunteered to underwrite the study, data collection and summary presentation,” Mr. Berlucchi said noting that the federal highway planners “love roads like Moshup Trail and Lobsterville Beach Road that loop back to connector roads.” he said.
In response to questions from the selectmen, he said that the town would not give up control of its roads.
Also, while he said that “state regulations on construction tend to be stringent, the regional state highway office understands that the Vineyard and Nantucket are tourist attractions and need to maintain their unique character.” Accordingly, the state likely would not require regulations such as eight-foot setbacks from town roads. “I will keep you informed,” he said.
Old South Road resident Sarah Saltonstall just wishes her road would get paved, regardless of the program that gets the work done.
“We’ve been waiting for a year and one-half. The left arm of the road is impassable for emergency vehicles and there are families down the road, including tribal families,” she told the selectmen.
Selectman Spencer Booker agreed. “I’ve been on that road on an all-terrain vehicle and it is really rough,” he said.
The selectmen told Ms. Saltonstall that they have been waiting for several months for a final site inspection by Sourati Engineering Group.
“We have the money and Brett Stearns is ready to go. We just need that final inspection,” chairman Camille Rose told Ms. Saltonstall.
Mr. Stearns, tribal director of natural resources, has secured funding for a erosion mitigation project on Old South Road tribal land that would include road rebuilding. George Sourati, founder of the engineering company, had not returned phone calls at deadline.
In other action, the selectmen, all of whom are left-handed:
• Formed an advisory wind power discussion group to be led by member Spencer Booker and Carlos Montoya, a town resident with interest and background in wind power.
• Awarded the 2000 GMC town dump truck to the winning blind bid of $7,000 submitted by Matthew Vanderhoop. The truck was replaced several weeks ago. Bids ranged from $276 to $7,000.