The Alaska Marine Highway System has begun taking reservations for fall, winter and spring sailings.
Spokeswoman Aurah Landau said the newly released ferry schedule covers travel from October through April.
“The service schedule is nearly identical to last year. The same with the operating budget. We’ve shifted some boats around, but the service itself is basically the same,” she said.
The shifting will allow the 54-year-old ferry Matanuska to undergo significant upgrades.
Capt. John Falvey is the marine highway’s general manager.
“We’re going to have new engines, new auxiliary equipment, basically a new engine room. And it doesn’t just stop at the engines. It’ll go from the reduction gear all the way out to the shaft and the props and rudders,” he said.
He said the work will cost about $36 million, using mostly federal funding.
The schedule was released Aug. 10, after a shorter-than-usual public-comment period. That’s because the Legislature made its budget decisions in late June, months beyond the usual deadline.
- Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg heard oral arguments in a lawsuit on the issue. He said he’ll try to reach a decision as quickly as he can.
- Walker said he has spoken several times with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whose vote could help determine the bill’s fate.
- State transportation crews are removing political campaign signs along state rights-of-way. Alaska law largely forbids signs anywhere visible from the roadway.
- The University of Alaska is offering up 400 acres of its Haines-area land for timber harvest. The timing of the university’s decision was motivated by a conversation happening at the local level. The Haines Planning Commission is considering whether to restrict resource extraction in the Mud Bay area.