The pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in the coastal economy, island transportation among them. Ferry, water taxi, and air services provide more than just transportation to and from island communities. They act as emergency medical transportation, school transportation, mail delivery, and the carriers of essential freight such as groceries and prescription drugs. Any changes made to these crucial services, such as the availability or cost, sends ripples through many aspects of the communities who rely on them.

In early 2021, the Island Institute formalized its commitment to engage more fully on ferry issues as part of our strategic priorities for the next 10 years. As a part of that commitment, we are actively participating in conversations at the Legislature about the future of the Maine State Ferry Service, and are continuing to convene a quarterly meeting of ferry and air operators meeting (public and private) where individual and shared needs can be heard and tight spots surfaced, and solutions discussed.