MPSC Approves Settlement Agreement with Champion's Auto Ferry Assuring Safe and Reliable Transportation to and from Harsens Island and Approving New Rates

Contact:  Judy Palnau, 517-241-3323
Agency:  Michigan Public Service Commission

March 08, 2013 - The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today approved a settlement agreement with Champion's Auto Ferry that assures safe and reliable transportation service to and from Harsens Island and implements Tariffs Nos. 37 and 38.

"Today's order approving this settlement agreement provides not only for the immediate continuation of safe and reliable transportation to and from Harsens Island, but also establishes a means and plan for the purchase of new ferries and capital expenses, reducing the concern of customers for continued reliable service in the future," said MPSC Chairman John D. Quackenbush.

The settlement is a result of an order issued by the Commission on Aug. 14, 2012 starting an investigation into the possible termination of service by Champion's Auto Ferry, following notification by David Bryson, president and CEO of the company, that he intended to retire.

Tariff No. 37 will result in a rate increase of $1 on most of its scheduled fares, effective 6 a.m. on March 10. Funds generated by Tariff No. 37 will be used, in part, to hire a manager to facilitate retirement of Bryson and to allow for continued operation of the company.

The company is authorized to file Tariff No. 38 on December 1, 2013, resulting in an additional fare increase of $1 on most of the scheduled fares, effective Jan. 1, 2014. The monies collected from the additional increase are for the sole purpose of setting aside funds for fleet renewal or major capital improvements to existing ferries. The pre-tax funds will be deposited into a capital construction trust fund (CCF) administered by the Federal Maritime Administration and will require approval by the Commission prior to any withdrawal.

In addition, Champion's Auto Ferry will provide the MPSC staff with quarterly reports on the CCF and other financial information.

Champion's Auto Ferry was last granted a rate increase on Aug. 27, 2008.

The MPSC is an agency within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Case No. T-1867

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