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Transportation and Works
October 16, 2006

Contract Awarded for Design of Two New Provincial Ferries

Government is one step closer to launching two new ferries to service the island portion of the province.

The Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Transportation and Works, announced today that St. Johnís-based Poseidon Marine Consultants Limited was awarded the contract to design and develop the specifications for two ferry vessels Ė one small and one 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).

"This is certainly a milestone as we move forward in our Vessel Replacement Strategy," said Minister Hickey.

"Poseidon Marine Consultants Limited is a local company that has an in-depth knowledge of the departmentís current fleet of marine vessels and posses home-grown expertise. And since they are based in Newfoundland and Labrador, the province can reap the maximum economic impact."

Government anticipates the designs will be completed by the end of this year to allow construction to commence in spring 2007. The department has not confirmed where the vessels will be stationed but noted they will be versatile enough to serve several different areas.

These two new ferries are part of a broader Vessel Replacement Strategy which includes plans for additional vessels to be constructed over the next five years.

The Department of Transportation and Works is also in the process of assessing vessel requirements for marine services in Labrador, in anticipation of completion of the Trans Labrador Highway in 2009.

"The ongoing Vessel Replacement Strategy is another example of how government is committed to sustaining a vibrant rural economy as these vessels generally service rural areas and we anticipate they will be built in a rural community," said Minister Hickey.

"This investment will also result in an improved and more reliable transportation network, thereby allowing individuals to continue to live in smaller communities and have access to private sector and public services."

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.

Media contact:

David Salter
Director of Communications
Department of Transportation and Works
(709) 729-3015, 691-3577 

2006 10 16                                                  1:40 p.m.

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