Frank Murkowski recently wrote an opinion piece published in the Skagway News. While I disagree with Murkowski (both of them) on lots of issues, I whole-heartedly agree with his opinion and ideas on the marine highway system. I adore the marine highway and hate every report of how it’s been deteriorating and under-funded.
Murkowski laid out how the funding from the inappropriately named “Inflation Reduction Act” could be utilized to pay for or supplement AMHS expenses. He pointed out the decreased ridership might make it seem (to an outsider) less needed. “With fewer vessels, ridership which had been averaging over 250,000 in 2019 dropped to 135,000 in 2020 and 38,000 in the year 2021.” But the last couple of years cannot be used as justification for any funding loss to any business. The years 2021 and 2022 are two aberrations that will, hopefully, never be repeated.
I sincerely hope the state of Alaska takes Murkowski’s advice and applies for every penny they can get from that appropriations bill. Maybe invite @secretarypete to come see and partake of the ferry system.