The Virgin Islands Port Authority is having a lousy year.
An audit report predicts a loss of $1.2 million this year for the agency which oversees the VI's airports and ferry services, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported.
The auditor suggested one way to raise cash would be to increase the airlines' landing fees 30 percent. The commissioners showed no interest in the landing fee proposal or the always-possible alternative of reducing jobs and payroll.
It would be reasonable to expect the airlines might well pass an additional cost onto customers. Or, worst case said Tourism commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty, the airlines might reduce the number of flights. In a possible sign that higher fuel costs and air fares are already having an impact, she said the passenger count for the year is already down five percent from last year.
The cash crunch for the Port Authority has a direct impact on St. John. The Commissioners put a halt to plans for maintenance on the Cruz Bay ferry dock. Proposed resurfacing and construction of the Lorendon Boynes Sr. dock was budgeted at $225,000. There was no word on when the work might be rescheduled.