The U.S. Senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Tuesday, with both Alaska senators voting yes. The bill goes next to the House.
The Senate voted 69-30 Tuesday to approve a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, a historic piece of legislation that could reshape American lives for decades.
There’s language in the U.S. Senate’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill that could throw a life ring to Alaska’s beleaguered ferry system. CoastAlaska spoke with the governor’s chief of staff about plans for the ferry system.
The Senate could pass the infrastructure package early Tuesday, sending it to the House.
The bill doesn’t earmark money for a lot of specific projects, but if you read it — sometimes between the lines — you’ll find billions of dollars designed to benefit Alaska.
The bill includes $2.5 billion for ferries nationwide, with $250 million for a pilot program to create electric or low-carbon ferries.
Last week’s sailing across the Gulf of Alaska was cancelled after the vessel’s cooling system malfunctioned.
Southeast towns like Sitka, Wrangell and Petersburg would see ships infrequently, while Kodiak Island and some Southcentral communities could see improved service.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed around 12% of the ferry operating budget on Thursday, leaving the system with nearly $8.5 million less to run its ferries over the next 18 months.
A crowd gathered as tugs pulled the fast ferries Fairweather and Chenega from Ketchikan’s Ward Cove out to a waiting transport ship.