Nova Scotia orders economic impact study of subsidized ferry to Maine
Nova Scotia is preparing to put the results of its economic impact study of subsidized ferry service between N.B. and Maine on public display. (Nova Scotia Department of Transportation photo)
Nova Scotia will put its economic impact study of subsidized ferry service between N.B. and Maine on public display to help answer questions about whether the service is providing value for taxpayers and what the impact will be on the local and regional economy, said Nova Scotia Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner John Loney.
The study, which will be posted online at www.ferry.ns.ca, is about subsidized ferry service between the islands of N.B. and Cumberland and Cape Breton, which the department hopes will take the place of a daily scheduled tour.
Currently, Nova Scotia ferries bring 1,100 passengers each day between the two Maritime provinces. They’re subsidized by the federal government, which offers a grant to operators. The study takes into consideration the value of the subsidy, its effect on the local and regional economy, and the number of passengers the subsidy has helped.
“There’s a tremendous public interest in this issue,” said Loney. “We hope with this study all of Nova Scotia can get a better understanding of just how valuable this provincial service really is for our residents and what the economic impact will be on the region.”
Last year, the federal government increased the subsidy for a subsidized ferry between N.B. and Maine, costing Nova Scotia an extra $4 million. Now, if the service is used, Nova Scotia’s ferry will have to raise its service to daily instead of every other day.
For Nova Scotia, the ferry service is part of the “regional transportation network,” which refers to the bus, walking and bike systems that people depend on to get around.
Loney said the economic impact study of the subsidized ferry between N.B. and Maine, which he expects will be completed by mid-2017, will help Nova Scotia determine the long-term economic benefits and value of the subsidized ferry service to the province.
“We know that there is an economic cost to the province, both in terms of its tourism industry and in terms of the