Oak Bluffs terminal project gets federal funds
On Friday morning, Massachusetts transportation secretary and Oak Bluffs seasonal homeowner James A. Aloisi, Jr. announced to a small group of officials gathered in the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority (SSA) terminal that the Patrick administration would provide money from the Federal stimulus package to help the boatline complete the third phase of the terminal reconstruction project.
Over the course of the multi-year project, in the last two years the SSA has replaced the ferry slip and passenger loading platform, replaced the former 35-foot transfer bridge with a 50-foot bridge and added two vehicle-staging lanes on the pier.
The final phase of the project calls for the relocation and expansion of the covered passenger walkway, improvements to the pick-up and drop-off area and the complete renovation of the terminal building. "This is the phase everybody has been waiting for," said Mr. Lamson.
The SSA expects to receive $1.1 in recovery funds that it will add to $1.9 million already received from the U.S. Department of Transportation Ferry Boat Discretionary Program. The money will allow the SSA to issue contracts and schedule work over the off-season so the terminal will be ready for the 2010 season.
Mr. Lamson said that without grants the project would have been dependent on business this summer, which would have put off the completion date.
The total cost of the entire project when completed is $15 million. In 2008 the SSA handled 10,000 trucks, 68,000 automobiles and 480,000 passengers through the Oak Bluffs terminal, according to the SSA.
In his remarks, Mr. Aliosi, an Oak Bluffs property owner since 1981, said he was happy that the state could assist with the project. "I will confess that of all the ports," he told a group that included three Oak Bluffs selectmen and Marc Hanover, SSA member, "I enjoy getting a boat in Oak Bluffs. I just love the ambiance of this terminal."
On Tuesday the SSA started operating trips to and from Oak Bluffs again for the start of the summer season.