Friday, June 12, 2015

Alaska Marine Highway Service won't face shutdown on July 1st

Ferry service between Prince Rupert
and Ketchikan will continue past July 1st
after State Budget passed
An agreement on budget issues in the State of Alaska will mean that the prospect of a shutdown for the entire Alaska Marine Highway System will be avoided, with the AMHS advising travellers today that it will be business a usual as the high summer season goes into motion.

As we outlined on the blog earlier this month, the AMHS had begun the process of notifying those with reservations on the service that the State of Alaska had issued layoff notices for State employees and that part of that process included plans to tie up the fleet should no agreement be reached by the end of the month.

With the clock ticking towards a wide ranging shutdown of the Alaska government, the State's representatives met through the last few days to hammer out the agreement that will keep the ships sailing through the summer.

"The Alaska State Legislature recently passed a funded fiscal year 2016 operating budget. As a result, the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) will continue operations on July 1, 2015 and beyond on the previously published schedule." -- Some background on the sailing status for the fleet from the latest update from the Alaska Marine Highway System

Some notes on the successful Budget process in Alaska can be found below:

Alaska Public Radio -- Legislature Gavels Out
Alaska Dispatch News -- Lawmakers reach compromise in draw out Alaska budget talks
KTVA -- Alaska lawmakers reach budget deal
Fairbanks News Miner -- House OK's compromise budget, Senate expected to do the same
Juneau Empire -- $5B budget approved, ending session

And while that is good news for the Prince Rupert terminal and the local tourism industry, there will still be some impact on service in and out of Prince Rupert his summer when it comes to trips between the North Coast and Ketchikan.

While the state issues are solved, the previously announced reduction in service will still remain in place, with the  Alaska Ferry Taku to be removed from service through the summer, the Alaska Ferry system will calling on Prince Rupert with a schedule cut in half through until the fall.

There is also the prospect of a review on sailings past that point sometime this fall, with Alaska Ferry officials looking to examine all of their operations related issues related to the Marine Highway's own budget issues.

Today's announcement from the AMHS can be reviewed here.

You can find more items related to the AMHS service to Prince Rupert from our archive page here.

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