Governor Files SSA Bill

Acting Gov. Jane Swift filed a bill yesterday to expand the Steamship Authority board of governors by adding voting seats for Barnstable and New Bedford.

"Changing times require careful examination of regional concerns," wrote the acting governor in a cover letter that accompanied the legislation.

The legislation was expected and is crafted straight out of the governor's ferry task force report issued three months ago.

The task force was charged with studying an array of issues around ferry service to the two Islands, including freight service and whether New Bedford should become an additional port.

The only real recommendation to come out of the report centers on a subject that was not included in the original charge for the task force.

The legislation filed yesterday allows for the two Islands to retain voting control by having weighted votes that correspond directly with the share of any deficit. New Bedford, Barnstable and Falmouth would each pay 15 per cent of any deficit. The Vineyard and Nantucket would share the remaining 55 per cent, with 30 per cent assigned to the Vineyard and 25 per cent assigned to Nantucket.