BITA News Release
The Beaver Island Transportation Authority (BITA) has been working diligently to get a new agreement with the Beaver Island Boat Company into place by March 31, 2003. This has been necessitated by state and federal guidelines and regulations. This process was originally started in 1997 at BITA's insistence.
BITA and BIBCO have held a series of meetings since October to resolve these issues. On Monday, February 17, 2003, BITA held a special meeting to discuss the progress in reaching an agreement.
The BITA board of directors offered the following resolution: The Beaver Island Transportation Authority is anxious to have the contract agreed upon by March 31, 2003. We are of the opinion that it will not be achieved with the present chief negotiator for BIBCO in place. We urgently request the BIBCO Board of Directors to replace their chief negotiator so we may achieve the new contract by our deadline of March 31, 2003.
Furthermore, since we have not received a draft agreement as promised from BIBCO, we will be presenting a draft contract to their negotiating team. This draft document in its current form meets the criteria for state approval and is similar in content to an agreement used by another Michigan ferry system.
BITA is very concerned that by not meeting state and federal requirements and guidelines, the advantageous relationship that we have with the State of Michigan in providing funds for equipment, improvements, and maintenance of the Emerald Isle may be in jeopardy. In BITA's ten-year existence, the state and federal government have provided $5.8 million dollars for the purchase and operation of the M/V Emerald Isle. This figure includes the vessel, capital equipment, maintenance, and improvements to the facilities. For FY 2004, the authority is requesting $315,000.00 in capital equipment and improvements.
BITA's board of Directors asks for BIBCO's recommitment to this negotiation process in order to better serve our community and the traveling public.
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