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Stephenville joins Port aux Basques in bid for affordable Marine Atlantic ferry rates

Mayor Tom Rose of Stephenville gave his support to the Town of Port aux Basques on the call for elimination of Marine Atlantic cost recovery at the regular meeting of the Stephenville town council Nov. 28. FRANK GALE/THE WESTERN STAR
Mayor Tom Rose of Stephenville gave his support to the Town of Port aux Basques on the call for elimination of Marine Atlantic cost recovery at the regular meeting of the Stephenville town council Nov. 28. FRANK GALE/THE WESTERN STAR - Frank Gale
STEPHENVILLE, N.L. —

FRANK GALE
THE WESTERN STAR

STEPHENVILLE, N.L. — Mayor Tom Rose of Stephenville says he is in full support of Port aux Basques Mayor John Spencer’s bid to open a file that would result in getting affordable rates for users of the Marine Atlantic ferry service.
Spencer had sent an email to towns in the province looking for support as he calls on the federal government to eliminate cost recovery for Marine Atlantic.
He wants 65 per cent cost recovery on constitutional service and 100 per cent cost recovery on all other services by Marine Atlantic to be eliminated.
With the agreement of his council, Rose will write a letter on behalf of Stephenville in support of Port aux Basques.
“I support him (Spencer) wholeheartedly as we’re on the far reaches of Eastern Canada and on an island,” Rose said.
He said if it means opening the Terms of Union, then that’s what should be done.
Rose said the cost of coming across on that ferry should be equal to what it costs to travel the same distance by road, which is a little more than 100 miles.
“It’s my hope that every mayor, every provincial MHA and federal MP for this province will jump on this issue,” he said.
Rose said his letter will be copied to Gudie Hutchings, the Liberal Commons member for Long Range Mountains; all MHAs in the region and the federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
He said this country, under its taxation and policies, has transfer payments that does equal balancing across the country.
“So why do we have to encumber high rates of expenses to get to the rest of Canada?” he asked.
While Coun. Mark Felix was in support of writing the letter, he seemed a little skeptical anything would happen with the issue.
“I remember this being asked for when I was 13 years of age and, while I support the letter, I wonder how long you have to be beating the same drum,” said Felix, who is now 58.
He did recognize costs have been continually going up to use the ferry service.

frank.gale@thewesternstar.com

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