The vacancies are slowing services, canceling ferries and could strain the Alaska Permanent Fund.
The Alaska Energy Authority’s director says the windfall of federal funds could help expand the corridor beyond that group of nine to Delta Junction, Glenallen and Tok.
Several communities in the Aleutians have been without ferry service because the Kennicott — the Tustumena’s stand-in — is too large to make it into their smaller ports.
The state is already paying around $15 million to add crew quarters on the Hubbard.
The ferry system eliminated bar service in 2015 as a cost saving measure.
Ferry officials put the route on hold in September 2019 over a dispute about whether U.S. Customs officials could carry guns
Ortiz says he’s concerned that the governor’s current budget relies too much on federal funding for the marine highway.
For now, the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities says it should have a decision made within a couple of weeks as to when marine highway service will return to Haines and Skagway in 2022.
Dunleavy continues to call for an additional $1,250 PFD payment to increase the amount paid this year, which was $1,114.
The Skagway Assembly passed a resolution that establishes an electric ferry pilot program.