McNeil’s ferry fiasco keeps getting worse
HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie wants to know why rates for the Yarmouth ferry have not been released.
“We’re just a couple months before the sailing season is supposed to start. People don’t know how much a trip will cost and there is no way to make a reservation,” says Baillie. “It speaks to the secrecy around this Liberal ferry fiasco. Tourists are making their travel plans now. How can the ferry be part of those plans if people don’t know the prices?”
The McNeil government committed to a $10.2 million subsidy in year one, while Bay Ferries is aiming at 60,000 passengers – that works out to a $170 subsidy from taxpayers per person or $680 per family of four. The passenger numbers also fall far short of the 130-135,000 passengers recommended for a commercially viable service in the 2012 expert panel report.
“It’s bad enough that taxpayers are on the hook for up to $100 million dollars over the next ten years,” says Baillie. “The least the Liberals can do is make sure people interested in traveling on the ferry can make their plans now.”
Baillie says there are too many unknowns with the ferry deal. The fares are unknown, the reservation process is a mystery and the Liberals are refusing to release the guaranteed profit taxpayers will pay to Bay Ferries in so-called ‘management fees’.
“I am deeply concerned that the premier looked at these numbers and still concluded that this is a good deal for Nova Scotia. McNeil’s ferry fiasco just keeps getting worse,” said Baillie. “The Progressive Conservatives support a sustainable ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine, but Nova Scotians need to know they can trust their government leaders to be good negotiators on their behalf.”