Funds coming to the Steamship Authority from the Federal Transit Authority have been put on an accelerated timetable thanks to efforts by U.S. Rep. William Keating, D-Bourne. As SSA general manager Bob Davis told the ferry line board Tuesday, a relationship with the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (FTA) has helped the SSA garner annual transportation funding and special CARES Act funding this year. This year the annual funding amounted to $2.4 million. The CARES Act funding came to $9.8 million.
Davis told the board the funds were expected in “three to five weeks.”
Keating managed to get the funds expedited so they will be tendered “within two weeks,” according to a press release from Rep. Keating’s office. The funds are expected to keep the SSA afloat until August 1, the release states. Keating also ensured the SSA maintained its status as a transit agency able to receive funds from the FTA.
“[E]arlier this year, the FTA announced that they intended to decertify the Steamship Authority as a commuter service,” the release states. “Working closely with officials from both the Steamship Authority and the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, Congressman Keating was able to intercede with the FTA providing them new evidence of the commuter traffic on the island ferries. This work was successful and ensured that the Steamship Authority retained its commuter service status. Without this commuter status the Steamship Authority would not have been eligible for the CARES Act stimulus funding.”
“These funds will be critical to bridging the cash flow gap for the Steamship Authority this summer,” Keating said via the release. “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every one of us deeply. The Steamship Authority is no different, and has been dealing with unprecedented loss of ridership this spring due to the virus and stay-at-home advisory. I fought for funds for Regional Transportation Authorities to be included in the CARES Act knowing that they would need support in these trying times. The $12 million in FTA funding for the Steamship Authority should help to fund operations through August when I hope that the Steamship Authority will have recovered to ridership levels that support their mission of maintaining access to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.”
“This is a much better result than we could have expected without Congressman Keating’s intervention,” Davis said via the release. “Congressman Keating has always tirelessly advocated for the Steamship Authority and those we serve, and we are grateful that he has been able to expedite the delivery of this funding, which will help us fund operations into the heart of the summer season.”
“These funds would not have been available today had Congressman Keating not worked with the CCRTA and Steamship Authority to ensure that the Steamship Authority remained certified as a commuter carrier this spring,” Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority executive director Tom Cahir said via the release.