The Maine Department of Transportation has proposed placing most of the financial burden of increased ferry rates on out-of state visitors. As long-term summer residents of Islesboro, we are dismayed by the proposed treatment of extended-stay Maine visitors and property owners who pay taxes and who actively love and support our communities with work and financial contributions. Elimination of the “island-originate” fare inequitably affects these long-term island residents who would be reclassified as “out of state.”

To illustrate, the Islesboro ferry rate for two people (round-trip car plus one passenger) is increased by 19 percent for Maine residents and 19 percent for non-residents, but increases by 129 percent for island residents from out of state. In comparison, for North Haven/Vinalhaven, the numbers are and 11 percent increase for islanders, 6 percent decrease for non-residents, and a 70 percent increase for island residents from out of state.

Increased rates of this magnitude would discourage ferry trips to the mainland to shop or seek entertainment or education. A likely outcome is that mainland shopping would plummet in favor of internet-provided goods and services.

We believe these changes are not good for island residents from out of state, and not good for the long-term sustainability of the entire community. It works against business development, commuter jobs, education exchange and collaboration of island and mainland residents.

We urge you also to reconsider this discriminatory and unwelcoming treatment of one of Maine’s biggest assets, its attractiveness as “Vacationland” to the many extended-stay visitors who support its economy.

Barbara R. Talamo and John S. Kauer