Tuesday, February 10, 2015

As part of budget concerns, Alaska Government considers reduction in AHMS sailings to Prince Rupert

AMHS Vessel Taku
off the coast of Alaska
The sudden drop in oil prices is making for a bit of mischief for Government financial estimates in many parts of North America and our neighbours to the north are feeling that impact harder than most.

With that economic indicator as our backdrop, some Budget concerns in Alaska are making for some tough decisions out of the state capital in Juneau.

And one area under consideration for some cost savings, might be found in the schedule of sailings for the Alaska Marine Highway system.

The State of Alaska Transportation Department has put together a list of runs that could see some sailings reduced and the current level of service to Prince Rupert is one area that may be affected.

One suggestion being considered is to have the start of the service provide by the Taku between Prince Rupert and Juneau to be pushed back further into the summer season, as well as to reduce other sailings of the service to the North Coast this summer.

A decision, which depending on the number of sailings that are reduced, could have a significant impact on tourism across Northern British Columbia through the summer months.

The background on those proposals can be found from this item in the Alaska Dispatch News.

The budget concerns are becoming a major focus as Alaska comes to terms with the new financial returns from their oil industry, a weekend item in the New York Times provided some interesting background on that aspect of the current financial outlook for the state and how it may impact the State's financial planning for the years to come.

As part of their ongoing review she it comes to their transportation options, the State Finance Committee is also recommending that no discretionary money be made available for capital projects for the coming year.

And while the now stalled Prince Rupert Ferry Terminal project was not mentioned in the most recent financial overview, the window of opportunity for that project to move forward might soon be something a little longer in term than where the project stood just a few short months ago.

What might be even more of concern for those on the North Coast looking to see that project move forward, could be how the current financial shift in Alaska and its impact on capital spending might need to be addressed.

Decisions which may have a larger impact on the North Coast beyond the current controversy and ongoing dispute between Canada and Alaska regarding the terminal construction planning.

For more items related to Transportation on the North Coast see our archive page.

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