Recently, I was able to convince the Senate Finance Committee to restore $2 million to the governor’s reduction in the Alaska Marine Highway System’s (AMHS) Operating Budget. This funding will reinstate six weeks of much needed ferry service to Kodiak Island, Homer and Seldovia next winter by the MV Kennicott.
Although I am pleased that ferry service will not be disrupted next winter, it is by no means a guarantee for the future. Often, ferries are leaving Kodiak Island, Homer and Seldovia at less than half capacity during the months of January and February. These figures pale in comparison to the occupancy rates on other AMHS routes and have been used by the number crunchers to justify cutting winter service to my constituents.
The old adage goes “use it or lose it.” While I will continue to work with lawmakers and the administration to find solutions to this critical issue, I encourage you to utilize AMHS throughout the year, but particularly in January and February, to avoid elimination of any service.
Sen. Gary Stevens
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