By ELISE GIORDANO
After months of doubt, confusion and even fear, the summer ferry schedule has been released, and Skagway will see no significant impacts.
Unused trigger fuel funds from FY2015 in the amount of $5.5 million were restored to the FY2016 budget, allowing ferry service to continue as scheduled, with the exception of the M/V Taku, which will not sail in July and August.
The cancellation of the Taku will eliminate sailings between Prince Rupert, British Columbia and Juneau.
In a press release, Senator Dennis Egan voiced his disapproval of the Taku’s cancellation.
“While statewide budget cuts are necessary, I don’t like the way the AMHS has been treated in the process,” he said. “The ferry system is the highway for the Southeast and coastal Alaska, and passenger and vehicle fees are its lifeblood. Because we lack a completed budget, this decision will cost the state of Alaska more than $400,000 of revenue.”
While the Taku may have been cancelled, Skagway sailings will remain as scheduled.
Skagway will see service seven days a week, with the M/V Malaspina sailing between Juneau, Skagway and Haines.
The M/V Matanuska will arrive in Skagway on Thursdays from Bellingham, WA, and the Columbia, also from Bellingham, will arrive on Mondays.
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities spokesperson Jeremy Woodrow said while Lynn Canal sailings will remain the same this summer, there is still a budget deficit.
“Winter and summer service next year are likely to be different from what we have seen in years past,” he said.