TAX CONFERENCE

The recently enacted "American Jobs Creation Act" gives significant tax breaks to a number of U.S. industries--including shipping.

MARINE LOG and BLANK ROME will present a senior level seminar CHANGES IN U.S. TAXATION OF SHIPPING INCOME in Stamford, Conn. on April 5 & 6, 2004

Make sure you know how the new tax rules work!

February 4, 2005

CATS, Rochester settle dispute

According to local media reports, federal Magistrate Judge Jonathan Feldman has mediated a settlement between the City of Rochester, New York, and one-time ferry operator Canadian American Transportation Systems.

The deal sets the stage for the city to bid for the fast ferry Spirit of Ontario at a February 28 auction without the threat of a lawsuit by CATS.

If it succeeds at the auction, the city then plans to restart service between Rochester and Toronto, Canada, through a limited liability company it has set up for that purpose.

According to a report by Rick Armon in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, yesterday's settlement involves the city, CATS and Australian financial backers. It calls for concessions by the company and big financial payouts by the city to head off potential lawsuits.

According to Armon, the dealprohibits CATS from interfering with the auction and requires the company to cooperate with the city

Under the settlement, if the city is successful at the auction, it will create a $700,000 fund to settle claims made against CATS by unsecured creditors. The fund will be overseen by the court.

The city also would pay Maplestar Development Co.--a sister company of CATS--$400,000, and another affiliate, the Charlotte Harbor Group, $100,000. The companies have claimed development rights and control of the terminal.

The newspaper reports that the city also would honor all outstanding tickets and do so even if the ticket price increases. CATS would voluntarily terminate its lease at the terminal and transfer some of its property to the city.

WASHINGTON MEETING SET

Meantime, Senator Charles E. Schumer and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter will convene a meeting in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, February 9, that will bring together Rochester Mayor William Johnson, and representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection.

"We have fought to get fast ferry service restored as soon as possible," Schumer said. "The next step is to make sure all of the key players have a good understanding of the critical issues including, truck traffic, staffing, and the reflagging process. This meeting will ensure the City of Rochester can begin an open dialogue with the Coast Guard and Customs so that they can hit the ground running after they purchase the ferry."

Slaughter commented, "I have worked since 1998 to make the Fast Ferry a reality in Rochester and am pleased that by working together we are very close to restoring ferry service. This meeting is a critical part of that process. We have to ensure that the federal agencies involved continue to abide by their obligation to support this international gateway. I am committed to ensuring that happens."

We'll have further coverage in the next issue of FERRIES &: FAST CRAFT NEWS. .

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