BC Ferries will get more of your money via the feds

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. is receiving more handouts from Canadian taxpayers as it proposes a massive increase to the fees citizens will have to pay to board its ships. In addition to the annual subsidy it receives from the province - which totalled $149 million in fiscal 2009/10 - the company has successfully applied to the federal government for a sum it expects will equal $9.6 million, on top of the $2.8 million they were promised in August and September of 2010. The sum breaks down like this:

Structured Finance Facility - The ferry service is presently working on a "life extension project" for the Quadra Queen II which is expected to be complete by the end of March. The company received approval from Industry Canada for up to $1.8 million in interest rate support payments through its structured finance facility program. In May 2010, the department also agreed to provide $1.0 million in interest rate support payments "relating to the life extension of the Quinsam," a 29-year-old ferry that travels between Gabriola Island and Nanaimo Harbour. The Quinsam returned to work in May after the $19-million dollar upgrade job.

Infrastructure Stimulus Fund - Funding for three projects was approved by Infrastructure Canada in August 2010: an overhead walkway at Horseshoe Bay; a foot passenger walkway at Campbell River; and a waste water facility at Langdale. According to an email from a company spokesperson, that assistance is expected to total $2.1 million. This money is on top of the $7.5 million in federal government stimulus funding announced in the first quarter of 2010 for "partial reimbursement of eligible costs for eleven terminal upgrades including eight sewage pump-ashore and waste water treatment projects," according to a ferry service press release.

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