Nova Scotia officials say they’re counting on Gov. Paul LePage to deliver on a pledge he made to provide financial support for the ferry service between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Portland.

The provincial government, which on Wednesday announced it will spend $13 million (Canadian) to subsidize the service for the 2015 season, has developed a financial plan that assumes Maine will provide $5 million, said Michel Samson, Nova Scotia economic development minister.

“Gov. LePage committed during his re-election campaign that the state of Maine will be a partner in the venture, and he was elected on the promise and must honor his commitment to bring $5 million to the table,” Samson said during a press conference in Yarmouth.

LePage in 2013 urged the province to award a contract to Eliot resident Mark Amundsen, whose company, Quest Navigation, was bidding on the ferry service. LePage said he would help the company obtain a line of credit from a Maine bank. Amundsen, who won the contract and re-named the company Nova Star Cruises, never got the loan.

LePage and Samson spoke about the issue over the phone last fall as the ferry company was running out of cash. In October, LePage announced he will introduce legislation to provide the company a $5 million line of credit.

LePage spokesperson Adrienne Bennett said administration is developing legislation that would be consistent with LePage’s 2013 offer to help Quest Navigation secure a line of credit, but officials are not prepared to discuss any details.

She said the state has included the Nova Star in the state’s tourism marketing efforts and has invested more than $20 million in the Ocean Gateway terminal in Portland where the ferry docks.

“Although the state of Maine continues to assist, the market will ultimately determine future success,” Bennett said.

Samson on Wednesday announced that the company had reached a new contract with Nova Star Cruises for 2015. He said the sailing season this year will be a bit shorter than last year, starting on June 1 and running to Oct. 14. The ferry last year operated daily from May 15 to Oct. 13, ending its season three weeks early.

When the season is over, the government will seek proposals from Nova Star Cruises, and other potential operators for 2016, Samson said.

He said the new agreement with Nova Star Cruises comes with increased oversight, along with more reporting and a requirement that it purchase more its provisions in Nova Scotia.

The government will make payments only after receiving receipts and will post the payments on a government accountability website.

“Our goal is simply to have the right ferry service at the best price,” he said.

The province spent $28.5 million (Canadian) for the service in its inaugural season. Of those funds, a $21 million loan that was supposed to last seven years was spent before the end of the first sailing season.

The loonie is now worth less than 80 cents in U.S. currency. The $13 million subsidy is equal to $10.4 million (U.S.) at current exchange rates.

Samson said that cheaper gasoline prices and the stronger dollar will convince more Americans to visit Nova Scotia this summer.

Chris d’Entremont, a leader the opposition party and who represents a district just north of Yarmouth, said he is satisfied with oversight provisions.

“I am cautiously optimistic about it,” he said. “I still think $13 million is a lot of money, but it’s a far cry from $28.5 million.”

At this time last year, Amundsen was predicting the ferry would carry 100,000 passengers, but the service ended the season with 59,000 passengers.

The company this year has set a goal of 80,000 passengers, Amundsen said in an interview on Wednesday. He said 51 motor coaches have already booked passage on the ferry this season, and negotiations are being finalized for another 30 motor coaches.

More people are aware of the ferry service now, he said, so business should get off to a much stronger start than it did last year. Although the ferry has capacity for 1,200, it carried an average of 112 passengers per trip in June last year.

Amundsen said he hopes to reach an agreement with the city of Portland that will allow the ferry to arrive at 6:30 p.m. and leave and 8 p.m. – an hour earlier departure than last year.

He said an earlier departure will encourage people to board the ferry and eat dinner in one of its onboard restaurants.

Last year, the company purchased its fuel and most of its food in Portland. Amundsen said the company will ask for bids from companies in both Maine and Nova Scotia this year. If the bids are fairly close, he said, he will give the business to the Nova Scotia company because the province is subsidizing the service.

Nova Star Cruises on Wednesday began selling tickets. The company this year is using a more flexible pricing format, varying its fares based on the season, day of the week, direction of travel and other demand-based variables, the company said in a statement on its website.

In the off-peak season, one-way fare for adults starts at $94 and travel is free for children ages 13 and under, according to the website. Private cabins are priced from $59. One-way rates for passenger vehicles up to 20 feet start at $94, and $64 for motorcycles. Fares are subject to port fees and a $5 fuel surcharge.