(St. John’s, NL: 30 Dec. 2013) In 2013 the Provincial Government committed $110.5 million to build new ferries and improve marine transportation infrastructure within the province.

In a formal statement issued as part of a government news release, the Hon. Nick McGrath, Minister of Transportation and Works was quoted as saying, “Ferry service is fundamental to the economic and social well-being of many communities in our province and the Provincial Government is fully committed to delivering on vessel replacement plans in order to continue to meet the long-term needs of our ferry-dependent communities. Our investments of over $110 million are testimony to that commitment.”

The provincial government signed contracts to build two new 80-metre vessels to service Fogo Island-Change Islands and Bell Island. These two contracts represent a total investment of $100.5 million. In order to accommodate the new larger vessel on the Bell Island run, wharf upgrades are necessary at both Bell Island and Portugal Cove. A commitment of $10 million was made in 2013 to fund these infrastructure upgrades.Work will begin in 2014.

The Provincial Government also issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to secure a single contractor to provide comprehensive marine transportation services to Labrador over a 15-year term. A minimum of two vessels will provide passenger, vehicle and freight service to the north coast of Labrador and passenger and vehicle service across the Strait of Belle Isle. Vessels must be ice-class, have roll-on, roll-off capability and must be new or built in 2010 or later.

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Media contact:Carol Ann Carter, Director of Communications, Department of Transportation and Works, carolanncarter@gov.nl.ca; 709-729-3015, 631-9505