PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Three years after The Cat stopped service between Maine and Nova Scotia, Canadian officials are talking about bringing a new ferry service back.
Bay Ferries Ltd. terminated service in 2009 because The Cat had started losing money; about $7-million a year.
Our economy does seem to be getting better, but the biggest question for Nova Scotia is, is it good enough to maintain this service? Portland's Mayor Michael Brennan thinks so.
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia's economy was hit pretty hard when the ferry service from Portland stopped, so officials there are really hoping to turn things around with a new ferry service; and the Canadian government has said they will pay up to $21-million to help subsidize a new ferry service to the U.S.
This spring, a 5 member panel was formed in Canada to look at the feasibility of one - just between Yarmouth and Portland - leaving Bar Harbor out this time. They released a report on their findings. For one, they estimate it would cost federal and provincial governments about $35-million to get the ferry service back up and running. Because of that cost, the service would operate for 6 years at a loss, but ultimately could be making $1.3-million by year ten.
The other big factor: will people ride it?
In it's final year of service, the Cat only carried about 75,000 passengers; to be viable this time around, the panel estimates the new ferry will need at least 130,000 passengers a year.
Mayor Brennan says last summer's numbers showed the economy is turning around and people are moving around again. He says he's confident more people will take advantage of the service, and says it's the perfect time for the extra boost to both Portland's economy and Nova Scotia's.