(JUNEAU, Alaska) –The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) today announced that Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) ferry service for summer 2015 will proceed as scheduled with the exception of one significant revision.
Governor Walker restored funding to the AMHS fiscal year 2016 operating budget by allocating $5.5 million of unused fiscal year 2015 AMHS fuel trigger funds. The additional funding allows AMHS to provide ferry service as previously scheduled with one exception. The MV Taku will not sail in July and August this year, as previously scheduled.
“The additional funding allows AMHS to honor its previously booked reservations to Alaskans, visitors and businesses,” said ADOT&PF Deputy Commissioner Michael Neussl. “The department apologizes for any inconvenience the uncertainty in the AMHS budget and the resulting schedule changes may have caused for passengers who have planned travel aboard state ferries this summer.”
The MV Taku sailing schedule was revised after maintenance to other AMHS ferries delayed the vessel’s annual overhaul. The MV Taku was scheduled to enter its overhaul in May 2015 and return to service July 1, 2015. The ferry is now scheduled to return to service in October 2015. Affected passengers with reservations on MV Taku are being contacted by AMHS reservations staff to rebook on other available vessels.
All other AMHS ferries will sail with minimal or no changes to the published summer schedule. The AMHS summer 2015 sailing schedule is available online at FerryAlaska.com.
“While summer service for this year has been essentially restored, travelers and Alaskans must remember that the state is still facing a $4 billion budget deficit. The AMHS schedule for the upcoming winter season and summer 2016 will likely be different than year’s past,” stated Neussl.
AMHS will release a draft winter 2015-2016 schedule for public review and comment this summer after the AMHS operating budget has been finalized.
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”
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