10/23/2012 01:38 EDT | Updated 12/23/2012 05:12 EST

Nova Scotia issues draft request for proposals for Yarmouth-Maine ferry

HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government has released a draft request for proposals in an effort to revive a ferry link between Yarmouth and Maine, three years after it stopped subsidizing the money-losing venture.

The province's Economic Development Department says it is looking for an operator who can show it can make the route profitable within seven years.

Last month, Premier Darrell Dexter said his government is willing to commit up to $21 million over seven years to relaunch the service.

The government has come under criticism since it decided in 2009 to nix a $6-million annual subsidy for Bay Ferries Ltd., which ran a high-speed ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine.

An independent panel report also released last month said it would require about $35 million in public funds and a significant boost in passenger traffic to ensure the Yarmouth-to-Portland service is viable.