Steamship Authority governors approved a $97.8 million operating budget for 2018 that includes no rate increases, agreed to renew licenses for private ferry operators including the Falmouth-Edgartown Ferry, Hy-Line and Seastreak and voted to limit the size of trucks on the 5:30 a.m. freight run to the Vineyard to less than 40 feet in length during the summer months.

The size limitation is designed to reduce SSA-bound traffic noise in Falmouth and Woods Hole during the early morning hours, where residents have complained about loud trucks on the roads.

General manager Bob Davis. — Timothy Johnson

“Smaller trucks make less noise than bigger trucks,” SSA general manager Bob Davis said at the monthly board meeting held in the Oak Bluffs Library Tuesday. Fewer than 20 people attended.

A linked proposal, also aimed at lowering the volume on Falmouth roads, failed to win the board’s approval. SSA staff had suggested an incentive program that would offer discounts to shippers who send their larger trucks across to the Vineyard late in the day, Monday through Friday.

With no standby or early arrival permitted, trucks of any size coming on a late-day boat would pay no more than the 40-foot fare.

“The discount grows as the size of the truck grows,” Mr. Davis said.

But the governors were unconvinced. Barnstable governor Robert R. Jones said he didn’t think many truckers would take advantage of the discount, which nonetheless would set a precedent.

Island moving company owner Trip Barnes agreed that the discount wouldn’t appeal to many shippers.

“The reason they’re there early is that they’ve got to get their freight delivered,” Mr. Barnes said, adding: “If you’re monkeying around with a special discount, it’s still not going to affect the guy with a trailer load of gasoline or a trailer load of groceries.”

While dropping the discount provision, governors approved a 2018 ferry schedule that adds three trips each weekday by the freight vessel Sankaty, which carries trucks more efficiently than its fleetmate Governor. The cost of adding the extra freight trips is expected to be about $250,000, Mr. Davis said.

Engineer Carl Walker gave slideshow on mid-life refurbishment project for ferry Martha's Vineyard. — Timothy Johnson

In other business Tuesday, Mr. Davis reported that more than 11,000 boat line passengers have jettisoned paper ticket books for electronic fare cards this year and 24 per cent of them have already reloaded their cards with additional funds.

The plastic RFID cards, each bearing the passenger’s photo, can be reloaded at ticket offices or online. If a card is lost, it can be canceled and a new one issued, Mr. Davis said.

While providing customer service for lost cards and reloads will be an added expense, the cards themselves cost less than the printed ticket books.

“Cost-wise it’s comparable and probably a little cheaper in the long run,” he said. And, added Falmouth governor Elizabeth H. Gladfelter with a smile, the cards can survive a trip through the washing machine.

SSA staff also provided slide shows of work in progress on the ferry Martha’s Vineyard, which is being refurbished in dry dock off Island, and on the new, $13 million office building in Woods Hole.

The existing Woods Hole terminal building is slated to be demolished this fall, with a temporary terminal expected to be open Nov. 13. The target date for opening the new office building is Jan. 17. Martha’s Vineyard is expected to return to service in early March.