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July 21, 2006
(Transportation and Works)

Government seeks designs for two new ferries

John Hickey, Minister of Transportation and Works, today announced the department is seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from naval architectural consultants to develop the design and specifications for two new provincial ferry vessels.

"This government inherited an aging ferry fleet and as stated in the budget, we are committed to commencing with a Vessel Replacement Strategy," said Minister Hickey.

The first stage of the Vessel Replacement Strategy will be the design and construction of these two new vessels. Government anticipates the designs will be completed by the fall of 2006 to allow construction to commence in early 2007. The department has not confirmed where the vessels will be stationed but noted they will be versatile enough to serve several different areas. The successful consultant will be required to maintain a Newfoundland-based office throughout the entire project.

The two vessels will be small and medium-sized. The small vessel will feature capacity for 6-10 cars and 50 passengers (day seating only), while the medium-sized vessel will hold 16-20 cars and 80-100 passengers (day seating only).

Minister Hickey points out that these two new ferries are part of a broader Vessel Replacement Strategy which will also see additional vessels constructed over the next five years.

"Government is making substantial investments to initiate long overdue improvements to the provincial ferry fleet and there is more to come," said Minister Hickey. "This is an exciting time for those who rely on the province’s ferries and another Blueprint promise fulfilled."

The Department of Transportation and Works is responsible for delivery of ferry services throughout the province. Currently, the department owns 11 vessels with construction dates ranging from 1963 to 1990.

Government will invest $300 million in infrastructure this year, of which $171 million is earmarked for transportation infrastructure. Approximately 97 per cent of this investment in transportation infrastructure is being spent outside the Northeast Avalon region. This is the first installment of a six-year strategy for infrastructure improvements exceeding $2 billion that will create more than 4,500 full-time equivalent jobs.

Media contact: David Salter, Communications, (709) 729-3015, 691-3577

2006 07 21                                                     9:00 a.m.

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