Steamship Authority receives $12.3 million in federal funds

Posted: May 20, 2020

FALMOUTH, Mass. (May 20, 2020) – The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, received $12,251,920 from the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority for its share of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act relief funds, as well as the Authority’s scheduled yearly formula funds from the Federal Transit Administration’s National Transit Database program.

The delivery of the funds was expedited due to the intervention of U.S. Rep. William Keating, D-Massachusetts, who worked with FTA officials to underscore the urgent need on the part of the Authority to receive the funds and help pay for its lifeline service to the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

“I know that without Rep. Keating’s intervention with the Federal Transit Administration these vital funds would not have been expedited as quickly as they were. On behalf of the Steamship Authority and all our patrons which rely upon our service, I want to thank Rep. Keating for his help on our behalf,” said General Manager Robert. B. Davis.

The Authority received approximately $9.86 million in CARES Act funding, and $2.39 million from the existing FTA program, of which the CCRTA is the region’s designated recipient.

The Steamship Authority funds nearly 100 percent of its annual cost of service through its fare box collections and, unlike nearly every other public transit agency in the country, receives no annual state subsidy or funding. Additionally, the Authority is prevented by its Enabling Act from having a “rainy day fund,” which severely hampered its cash position as ridership plummeted due to the COVID-19 emergency.

The Steamship Authority is continuing to have productive conversations with officials at the state and federal levels on other potential sources of funding as it seeks to avoid a multimillion-dollar year-end deficit due to unexpected declines in revenue. Such a shortfall would likely trigger an assessment against the Authority’s five port communities, an event that has not happened since 1962.