Public Hearings Open on SSA
Julia Wells

Public Hearings Open on SSA

Special Task Force Headed By Retired Judge Rudolph Kass Begins Deliberations on Future Boat Line in New Bedford

By JULIA WELLS

A special state task force charged with studying ferry and transportation problems on the Cape and Islands will hold a set of public hearings beginning next week in New Bedford, and continuing through the month of February on Nantucket, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard.

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SSA Expects Big Financial Loss on Schamonchi Ferry Operation
Julia Wells

The surprise decision by the Steamship Authority governors last month to buy the New Bedford passenger ferry Schamonchi was pitched as a sound business decision for the public boat line, but an internal financial analysis done by the SSA shows that in fact the ferry is expected to lose large amounts of money.

The boat line board of governors voted last month to buy the Schamonchi for $1.75 million.

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Governor's Task Force Hears Nantucket Plea to Protect SSA Services
Julia Wells

NANTUCKET - - The people of Nantucket had their crack at the podium this week, turning out more than 150 strong to urge a special governor's ferry task force to protect the Steamship Authority and their lifeline.

"The rate-payers of the Islands are not responsible for reviving the economy of New Bedford. Folks, the Steamship Authority is not an entitlement program," declared Steve Tornovish, a member of the SSA financial advisory board from Nantucket.

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SSA Governors Review Sketchy Finance Report on New Service Model
Julia Wells

Amid a long list of caveats about assumptions and the need for more data, Steamship Authority treasurer Wayne Lamson told the boat line board of governors yesterday that he is in the neutral zone when it comes to the financial impacts of the new service model for future ferry operations to the two Islands.

"I feel that we should continue to explore the viability of the service model. But a lot more information needs to be gathered, and certain assumptions need to be validated," Mr. Lamson said at the monthly boat line meeting in Woods Hole yesterday.

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Kass Plan Asks Change at SSA
Julia Wells

The governor's ferry task force that recently staged a four-month crash course on the Steamship Authority has now opened the door for a major overhaul of the public boat line that has served the two Islands for 41 years.

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SSA Problems and Rate Hikes
Julia Wells

SSA Problems and Rate Hikes

By JULIA WELLS

Steamship Authority governors will be asked this morning to consider a mid-season fare hike, as the boat line faces escalating costs from legal bills, rising debt and projected operating losses on the new ferry run between New Bedford and the Vineyard this summer.

The proposed fare hike is set for discussion only; no vote is planned until next month. If it is approved, passenger fares and the popular auto excursion fares for Island residents will all go up.

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Boat Line Figures Show Traffic to Island Up for July, August and Down for Year
Julia Wells

Overall traffic on Steamship Authority ferries is either flat or down slightly for the year, but in fact peak-season summer traffic on ferries to the Vineyard - both passenger and automobile traffic - has been healthy.

Also, the patchwork of parking lots in Falmouth and Bourne that are used to service boat line ferries to the Vineyard were never completely filled this summer, raising some question about the recent statements by the boat line general manager about the need to shift passenger traffic to New Bedford.

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Island Leaders Act to Block Decisions on Fast Ferry Service to New Bedford
Julia Wells

Island Leaders Act to Block Decisions on Fast Ferry Service to New Bedford

By JULIA WELLS and JOSHUA SABATINI

In an unexpected move that marks a new turn in the road for the Steamship Authority, the All-Island Selectmen's Association voted without dissent this week to tell the Vineyard boat line governor to put the brakes on plans for high-speed ferry service between New Bedford and the Vineyard.

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SSA Ferry Plan Absent Money
Julia Wells

Last week's report calling for high-speed ferry service between New Bedford and the Vineyard was submitted without any financial information, and the acting general manager of the Steamship Authority said yesterday that he will now have to step in to finish the crucial financial piece of the report.

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Fast Ferry: Few Facts, Much Propaganda
Julia Wells

From the very start it had all the markings of a political campaign - go heavy on the sales pitch, work the numbers to make them fit the pitch and filibuster to silence anyone who questioned the information.

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