The Steamship Authority will increase rates for parking and some freight trucks on the Martha’s Vineyard route next year.
Meeting Tuesday morning at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven, the boat line board of governors unanimously approved an $85.3 million 2014 operating budget. The budget is up about .6 per cent from estimated 2013 expenses.
To meet the cost of service, the budget includes an additional $1 million from rate adjustments. Freight fares for vehicles over 20 feet in length will increase by about five per cent. The rates were last raised in 2007.
Parking rates will increase by between $1 and $3, and the price of parking permits for the Woods Hole and Palmer Avenue parking lots will increase by $25.
Steamship Authority treasurer Robert B. Davis said the rate adjustments this year will only affect the Vineyard route. After the rate increase, the cost of service and revenues that come from the Martha’s Vineyard route will be about the same.
Vineyard governor Marc Hanover noted the lack of public attendance at Tuesday’s meeting. “In lieu of the large crowd here still upset about this, I vote aye,” he said during the vote on the budget and rate increases.
In other business, general manager Wayne Lamson said traffic in August was up from the same month last year, with 3.4 per cent more passengers, 1.2 per cent more automobiles, and 3.4 per cent more trucks traveling on Steamship Authority ferries. For the first eight months of the year, passenger traffic is up a scant .1 per cent and truck traffic is up 3.9 per cent compared to the same period in 2012. Automobile traffic is down 1.2 per cent for the first eight months of the year.
For the year to date, the Steamship Authority’s net operating incomes is $682,000 below budget projections. However, net operating income for August was more than $928,000 higher than budget projections.