The Steamship Authority is proposing to raise its rates for the second year in a row to offset a projected $3 million budget shortfall.

Most Island residents and walk-on commuters would be spared from the increases: Passenger tickets, excursion vehicle fares, freight charges and daily parking are untouched in the $137 million draft budget, which had its first public airing at Tuesday morning’s port council meeting.

Yearly parking permits, however, are going up in the draft plan, by $75 for the Woods Hole lot and $50 for the Palmer avenue lot, according to the presentation by Steamship Authority treasurer and comptroller Mark Rozum and assistant treasurer Courtney Oliveira.

Standard, one-way vehicle fares on the Vineyard route would rise in 2024 by $2 in the shoulder season, $9 on peak season weekdays and $10 on peak season Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, if the boat line board of governors approves the spending plan at its Sept. 26 meeting.

The 10-ride automobile pass is slated for a $45 increase.

Higher expenses for maintenance, training and insurance have contributed to the budget increase, Ms. Oliveira told the port council as she outlined the spending plan.

Maintenance costs, for both vessels and terminals, are expected to go up $3 million, nearly 13 per cent over the current year, she said.

Training expenses are rising by $350,000, a more than 48 per cent increase, and insurance is up $380,000, or 7.9 per cent, in the 2024 budget.

On the revenue side, automobile traffic is expected to fall by 3.6 per cent next year, more than offsetting the projected 4.4 per cent increase in passengers, with revenue from freight up 0.7 per cent and parking 0.3 per cent.

The bottom line of just over $6 million in net operating revenue is nearly $3 million short of the Steamship Authority’s $9.1 million target, calling for a rate increase, Ms. Oliveira and Mr. Rozum said.

Port council members voted to recommend the draft budget to the boat line board of governors, who will review it in public session Sept. 26.

The Steamship Authority also is planning a budget open house for members of the public Sept. 27, with details still being arranged, Mr. Rozum said.

A proposal from the SeaStreak ferry for year-round service between New Bedford and Vineyard Haven is headed for the board of governors, after port council members supported the concept Tuesday.

The high-speed ferry company is interested in operating two daily round-trips a week between Columbus Day and New Year’s Eve, and has made a commitment to weekday service through mid-April, Steamship Authority general counsel Terrence Kenneally said. Weekend trips in early 2024 will depend on whether SeaStreak sees a demand for the service, Mr. Kenneally said.

The passenger line also wishes to run trips between the Vineyard and Nantucket over Thanksgiving and Christmas, he said.

With no extra expenses to bear, the deal would be a financial plus for the Steamship Authority, which receives a licensing fee for every passenger ferry ticket.

“I just see the potential for additional revenue,” Mr. Kenneally said.

However, he said, the proposed schedule needs some adjustments to make sure the SeaStreak and Steamship Authority ferries have plenty of sea room.

“We can’t have that much traffic and confusion going on,” Mr. Kenneally said. “We don’t want to have any collisions in Vineyard Haven Harbor.”

The SeaStreak has operated year-round in past decades, Steamship Authority general manager Robert Davis said. It was approved for off-season service as recently as 2021, but the passenger line opted not to go through with its plan.

Among other business Tuesday, port council members discussed their evaluations of Mr. Davis’s job performance over the past year.

Mr. Davis received much lower ratings from the Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard port council members.

John Cahill of Tisbury and Joe Sollitto of Oak Bluffs each gave him a 70 per cent grade, while Robert Munier of Falmouth rated Mr. Davis at 75 per cent.

Mr. Munier and Mr. Cahill both cited the boat line’s failure to attract bidders for potential freight service between the Vineyard and New Bedford, as well as for the new terminal buildings in Woods Hole, saying the authority needs to improve the way it writes its requests for proposals.

Mr. Cahill also targeted the authority’s technology, particularly the online reservation system that has been challenging to incorporate into the new website.

“It’s like dragging an old rusty anchor, and you’ll continue to be dragged down,” Mr. Cahill said.

Mr. Sollitto took aim at boat line communications, saying he usually hears about cancellations and breakdowns from his constituents instead of from the authority.

“Every day, I hear their complaints,” Mr. Sollitto said.

The highest mark came from Nat Lowell of Nantucket, who gave the general manager a 96 per cent rating.

“We’re very fortunate to have Bob and his crew at the helm of the Steamship,” Mr. Lowell said.

Mark Rees, of Fairhaven, dinged Mr. Davis for the slow progress of the authority’s website redesign and the poorly-estimated costs of converting three offshore supply vessels to freight ferries, but still gave him an 87 per cent grade.

The port council’s detailed evaluations of Mr. Davis’s job performance have been forwarded to the board of governors for its September meeting.