Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Prince Rupert's Alaska Ferry woes may get worse by July

The Gates to the AMHS Terminal
in Prince Rupert could remain
locked after July 1st as Budget
Issues continue to rage in Alaska

Things may go from bad to worse for Prince Rupert's tourism season this summer with the potential for a complete shutdown of the Alaska Marine Highway System looming for this summer.

As we outlined in May, amid ongoing budget concerns for the service the AMHS has already announced plans to cut the number of sailings to Prince Rupert in half, announcing the removal from service of the Alaska Ferry Taku for the summer.

Now, larger State budget concerns and a showdown in the Alaska Legislature may see the entire fleet tied up as early as the end of the month.

That would be something that would have major tourism repercussions up and down the Alaska coast and into Prince Rupert, which is a major transit point for many on their way to, or coming from an Alaska adventure.

The prospect of the shutting down of the entire fleet  was a scenario that Alaska Marine Highway officials outlined for Alaska Public Radio yesterday, with the Ferry service looking to put their vessels into ports between June 29 and July 1st depending on where they are as the deadline nears.

The AMHS service is among a number of state services that could see cuts from the Administration of Alaska Governor Bill Walker, as the Alaska Government tries to come to terms with what the Governor calls the Legislature's inaction on a proposed budget.

Much of Alaska's budget woes can be traced back to a reduction of revenues over the last year, owing to the current state of the oil industry amid dropping oil prices.

To highlight the seriousness of the situation at hand, on Monday, the Alaska Government issued more than 10,000 layoff notices to state workers, covering a wide range of services to Alaskans.

Further updates on the prospect of the shut down of Marine Highway Service will be provided through the month, though travellers who have reservations past the end of the month will not be notified in person, they are advised to follow the AMHS website for further information on service issues.

Some background related to the Budget controversy can be found below:

KTUU -- Walker taps mediator, mails 10,000 layoff notices amid Alaska budget standoff
Reuters -- Alaska governor issues 10,000 layoff notices amid budget wrangling
Juneau Empire -- State workers to get layoff warning
Alaska Dispatch News -- As clock ticks toward shutdown, Alaska Legislature can't resolve budget
Sit News -- Governor informs Alaskans of impacts of a partial Government Shutdown
Newsminer -- Layoff notices, shutdown plans go out amid Alaska budget gridlock

See our Archive page for past items about Alaska Marine Highway Service in Prince Rupert.

Update: On Wednesday, the AMHS posted this notice to their website, providing an update for passengers that use the marine highway service.

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