Nova Scotia’s Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Geoff MacLellan reaffirmed government’s commitment today to a sustainable transportation link between Yarmouth and Maine.
He also noted Nova Scotians have said the ferry must cost less, and his department is taking steps to respond.
“I’m pleased to hear that Nova Star anticipates a good year for bookings and I sincerely wish them a good season,” said Mr. MacLellan.
“That said, we’ve spent a lot of money so far, and we fully expect the company to meet their financial goals.
“If their best efforts are not enough, Nova Scotians expect us to move quickly to a plan B that costs less, not more. I have delivered a clear message to Nova Star that we will proceed with another service provider if their goals are not met.”
The department will use an alternative procurement process, instead of a formal request for proposals. The alternative procurement process is quicker and allows for greater flexibility in who might provide the service in the future.
“We feel alternate procurement is a better fit given past experiences with requests for proposals on this service,” said Mr. MacLellan. “This allows us to go directly to operators within the ferry industry and ask them for their best, most innovative ideas on how the service can be delivered. We feel strongly this will give us the best value for Nova Scotians.”
Government committed $13 million for 2015, primarily to cover pre-season costs before the ferry starts generating significant revenue. As of April 30, Nova Star has received $6.1 million.
“We believe in Yarmouth and we believe in a ferry for Yarmouth,” said Mr. MacLellan. “This is about ensuring the operators know we expect them to deliver on their business plan and, most importantly, that we get the best service at the best price for Nova Scotians.”
The sailing season begins June 1.