(JUNEAU, Alaska) –The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) proposed Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) operating plan for May through September 2022 is now available for public review.
“This summer schedule will allow residents and visitors to make plans on our ferry system a year in advance, bringing certainty and reliability,” noted Commissioner MacKinnon. “This is only possible because Governor Dunleavy forward funded the AMHS by 18-months, increased the ferry system budget year-over-year by $8 million, and continues to push for reforms that will make for more sustainable ferry service in the face of continued budget deficits.”
After finalizing the 2022 summer schedule, a full year of ferry sailings will be available for booking for the first time. This full-year schedule also allows for better-scheduled maintenance of the ferry fleet and offers reliability for Alaskan businesses that wish to utilize ferry service as a component of their business model. The forward funding that allows this further seasonal scheduling is just one of many additional efforts initiated by the Governor’s Administrative Order 313 that formed the Alaska Marine Highway Reshaping Work Group, which recommended the forward funding concept.
"Together with the new Alaska Marine Highway Operations Board, which will be established after the October 11, 2021 effective date, Alaskans will see further reforms beyond the forward funding that directly improves AMHS service," stated Deputy Commissioner Rob Carpenter, who sits on the new advisory board. "And we appreciate the extraordinary support of Governor Dunleavy leading us to this exciting turning point. "
The proposed schedule patterns are based on adopted FY22 funding levels. The operating plan is designed to meet community service needs and maintain regulatory and safety standards for the vessels. This schedule leaves room for the addition of Prince Rupert if clearance requirements can be addressed. This schedule also allows Columbia, currently in overhaul, to provide additional service if staffing challenges, a current issue worldwide, can be overcome.
The draft schedule is available online with accompanying documents at dot.alaska.gov/amhs/doc/summer_considerations_2022.pdf.
AMHS is also interested in hearing about any need for special events scheduling and requests that organizers or communities give the event name, dates, location, and arrival/departure times needed for each special event.
Written comments are being accepted through August 31, 2021, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by fax at (907) 228-6873. A public teleconference to hear additional comments and consider adjustments is scheduled for September 2, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. for Southeast schedules and at 1:30 p.m. for Southwest and Southcentral schedules. The meetings will take place at the Alaska Marine Highway Ketchikan Central Office, 7559 North Tongass Highway, for participants wishing to attend in person.
The toll-free number for joining both teleconferences is: 1-515-604-9000, access code 279613.
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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