Uncle Sam and the SSA

The federal government sometimes provides better entertainment than late night television.

Case in point is the Steamship Authority and the latest snafu over the use of federal stimulus money earmarked for reconstruction work on the ferry terminals in Oak Bluffs and Hyannis.

First comes the problem with the material used for the dolphins on the Hyannis project. Turns out that some of the material is made in China and the rules for stimulus money require that all steel be made in the USA.

Then comes the problem with the transfer bridge. Now, everybody who lives within several hundred miles of a ferry terminal knows that a transfer bridge is not really a bridge but a small ramp that connects the ferry to the dock. It’s the thing that your car thunks over when you drive on and off the boat.

But Uncle Sam has his definitions. And when the word bridge comes into a sentence that means all kinds of highway safety rules that apply to bridges must suddenly be invoked. It’s a weight-bearing, strut-provoking problem.

And all this would be funny — is in fact funny — if it were not for the fact that the Steamship Authority needs the money for the reconstruction work on the two terminals.

And qualifies for the money.

It’s just that some words got in the way and now somebody has to unsnarl the red tape that has wound itself around the boat line.

Isn’t this where Cong. Bill Delahunt rides in on his white horse and fixes the problem?

Haven’t seen the good congressman on the Island for awhile, but with President Obama due to land on the Vineyard next month for a one-week vacation, that will undoubtedly change.

So we hope someone in Woods Hole will grab him for a quick briefing on the matter — before he thunks over the transfer bridge on his way to see the President at some social function.