Transportation and Works
Tourism, Culture and Recreation
February 7, 2007

Ministers Concerned About Marine Atlantic Rate Increases

The Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Transportation and Works, and the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, are expressing displeasure with Marine Atlantic ferry rate increases announced yesterday by the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, federal Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities.

Minister Cannon released a long-term strategy to �revitalize the ferry service� which includes a pair of measures which will lead to an increase in fares.

"Front and center in Minister Cannon�s news release is an announcement that there will be annual tariff increases based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and fuel surcharges," said Minister Hickey. "It�s unclear at this point how much fares will increase, but the cumulative impact of CPI adjustments and fuel surcharges may be significant."

Minister Hedderson shares Minister Hickey�s dismay with the rate increases. "This is disappointing news for the entire tourism industry of Newfoundland and Labrador," said Minister Hedderson. "We know that an increase in Marine Atlantic ferry rates can negatively impact our ongoing efforts to attract tourists to the province."

Minister Cannon additionally announced a five-year plan to improve services to users and achieve operational efficiencies, as well as advancement of the fleet renewal plan. However, Minister Hickey is taking a wait-and-see approach before endorsing these initiatives.

"Until we see the details of exactly what the federal government has in mind, it is difficult to say whether these are positive developments," said Minister Hickey. "We will be monitoring this matter closely."

Minister Hickey also points out that he had previously communicated his concern about potential Marine Atlantic rate increases to his federal counterpart and that his department was not consulted by the board of directors who developed the five-year plan for Marine Atlantic.


Media contacts:

David Salter
Director of Communications
Department of Transportation and Works
709-729-3015, 691-3577 
John Tompkins
Director of Communications
Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
709-729-0928, 728-7762 


2007 02 07                                                   2:00 p.m.

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