Subsidies spur interest in Maine-Nova Scotia ferry return

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - After indicating that the government was willing to spend some $21 million on subsidies for a ferry service between Nova Scotia and Maine (most likely Portland), provincial officials here are meeting with parties interested in operating the ferry. Bay Ferries, which last operated a ferry connecting the two locations - the Cat, which operated between 2006 and 2009 - has expressed interested in resuming the service, along with at least three other operators, according to an article in the Portland Press Herald.

Bay Ferries currently operates three other passenger vessels.

In a study conducted by Nova Scotia, start-up costs for a new ferry service are estimated at around $5 million, while some $13 million in upgrade costs would likely be needed in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where the ferry would likely be home-ported. Maine officials have said they'd be open to helping with any technical issues that might arise, but no funding has been committed, despite one Nova Scotia official noting it would nice if Maine had some "skin in the game." Bids were due in at the end of November.