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The Lifeline that Strangles

How long can growth continue for Cape Cod's ferry service?

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The Steamship Authority runs ferry service to-and-from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket—more than 3 million passengers traveled on one of its ferries in 2019. Even more are expected this year.

Recently, the ferry service has come under increased scrutiny. Some are suggesting that the continued growth of island populations is putting an unprecedented burden on the ports that serve them.

Representative Sue Moran recently filed legislation calling for a change in the structure of the Authority to give more voice to the mainland ports. Island officials decry any alteration to the governance of a service that has been called "the lifeline to the islands."

Our series examines the ferry line, the impacts of its increasing vehicle traffic, and what the service may look like in the future as growth continues.