Steamship Authority bonding limit increased

Posted: August 9, 2023

FALMOUTH (August 9, 2023) – The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority has had its bonding limit increased by $50 million as part of the Commonwealth’s fiscal year 2024 budget, signed today by Gov. Maura Healey.

The increase now brings the Authority’s bonding capacity to $150 million.

“As a self-funded public agency, increasing the bond limit is a crucial step in being able to undertake several pending and planned capital projects,” said Steamship Authority General Manager Robert B. Davis.

The Authority’s bonding limit was previously raised from $75,000,000 to $100,000,000 in 2014 by the Massachusetts Legislature. Since the limit was last raised, the Consumer Price Index has risen approximately 26%. Although the Authority has unused bonding capacity, that capacity is not projected to be sufficient for projected projects until additional debt payments are made over the next several years.

In 2022, the Steamship Authority embarked upon a project to replace the Authority’s aging fleet of freight vessels with the acquisition of a class of “mothballed” offshore supply vessels (OSVs). Once converted, the three OSVs will be capable of transporting required freight and supplies to the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. These vessels are also being studied for the potential conversion of their existing diesel propulsion systems to hybrid propulsion technologies. Bonding capacity will be essential in funding this and other projects.

“On behalf of the Steamship Authority, its port communities, and the members of its Board and Port Council, I thank our legislative delegation for their support in this effort, including State Sens. Julian Cyr and Susan Moran and Reps. Dylan Fernandes and Kip Diggs, as well as the entire Cape and Islands delegation,” said Steamship Authority Board Chair Robert F. Ranney of Nantucket.

Since 1960, the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority has served as the transportation lifeline to the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard year round. The Steamship Authority is the largest ferry service to the islands and offers the most frequent daily departures for passengers, automobiles, groups and trucks. In 2022, more than 2.9 million passengers and more than 695,000 vehicles of all sizes were transported to and from the islands. Our U.S. Coast Guard-certified crews are committed to the highest level of safety at sea while our vessels offer comfort and convenience with spacious seating, free Wi-Fi and TV on board.