SAINT JOHN, N.B. – A $58-million federal investment will keep three Maritime ferry services operating for the next two years.
Federal Minister of Transportation Lisa Raitt was at the Saint John ferry terminal Wednesday morning unveiling the investment. The funding will allow ferries between Saint John and Digby, NS; Wood Islands, PEI and Caribou, NS; and between Iles-de-la-Madeleine, QC and Souris, PEI, to continue until March 31, 2016.
“For the next two years, it is exactly as it is today. We will be dealing with Eastern ferries in the same way we always have,” Raitt said.
The New Brunswick government will also be investing $1-million into the Saint John-Digby ferry for the next two years.
“These services are an essential part of the transportation system of Eastern Canada. Our companies will continue to strive to provide safe and efficient service to our customers and all stakeholders,” said Mark MacDonald, CEO of Bay/Northumberland Ferries, in a statement.
Raitt says the investment is to ensure people and goods can continue to be transported via the ferries in order to sustain the region’s economy.
“I think definitely it should continue, it saves on driving time, it would probably take us another day or so to get all the way around,” said Judy Drexler, a visitor from Pennsylvania.
Raitt was also asked about the new Saint John-Digby ferry, promised by the federal government last summer. Traveling the 70 kms between Saint John and Digby, the MV Princess of Acadia has been carrying passenger and commercial traffic year-round since 1971.
Raitt says they’re still looking for a replacement vessel.
“What I can tell you is we’re not going to tell you the guts of what’s happening right now but I will tell you that we’re still on time for 2015 service,” Raitt said.
According to the Government of Canada’s buy and sell site, the tentative timeline would see the delivery of that vessel on March 31, 2015.