In a sign of the expense taxpayers incur treating President Obama to a vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, the Secret Service has had to book 70 rooms at a single hotel on the island at a cost of at least $175,000.
It’s just a small portion of the costs assumed by the public for a president who takes major vacations at least twice a year. Other costs add much more to the total, including the tab for flying Air Force One at about $180,000 per hour roundtrip to Cape Cod, where Obama will land before choppering onto the island, as well as separate military cargo planes.
There are also many additional rooms required for staff and countless other logistical needs. According to the Vineyard Gazette, which reported the Secret Service rooms:
While preparations have been under way for months behind the scenes, there has been a flurry of preparatory activity on the Island this week, with military helicopters including a U.S. Marine Corps Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft seen in the skies, shiny red Coast Guard helicopters at the airport and large, black Secret Service vans with government plates around the Island.
Chilmark executive secretary Tim Carroll said two Verizon cell-on-wheels mobile sites, or “cows,” were expected to arrive in Chilmark to improve cellular service during the president’s stay.
At a time when sequester cuts are slashing government services and the population is suffering under the lagging economy, questions have been raised about whether Obama might vacation cheaply at Camp David this year – or skip the vacation altogether.
The president generally takes two luxury trips a year – one to Hawaii in the winter and second to Martha’s Vineyard.
The price tag for boarding the Secret Service agents is conservatively estimated – based on the lowest public price for rooms at the hotel where they are staying, estimated taxes and fees, and a nine-night stay. Obama arrives on Martha’s Vineyard Saturday and will remain until August 18.