KETCHIKAN (AP) -- With its first, brand-new ferry arriving in Alaska in about two weeks, the Inter-island Ferry Authority received good news about funding for its second.
The IFA's Len Laurance said that a bill providing $10 million to build a second ferry cleared the U.S. Senate and went to the White House for President Bush's signature on Wednesday.
Negotiations to build the second IFA ferry begin almost immediately, Laurance said, and the option the IFA holds with Dakota Creek Shipyard in Anacortes, Wash., will be implemented soon.
That second ferry, the Stikine, will cost about $12.2 million, about the same as the Prince of Wales. Laurance said the state allocated $2.2 million two years ago to build the second IFA ship, and IFA Board Chairman Tom Briggs will meet with state Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe Perkins later this month to discuss making those funds available.
The Stikine will travel between Coffman Cove on Prince of Wales Island, Wrangell and Petersburg.
Laurance said the Prince of Wales is 99.9 percent finished and is undergoing evacuation drills and sea trials in Washington this week.
The IFA already is taking reservations for the 198-foot Prince of Wales, which will travel daily between Hollis and Ketchikan.
The ferry will arrive in Ketchikan Dec. 22 and begin crew training. An inaugural run leaves Ketchikan for Hollis on Jan. 13.
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