Tuesday, March 6, 2018

No mention for Prince Rupert's AMHS terminal in Alaska's State Transportation Improvement plan

With an ongoing Canada/US dispute still unresolved, the
  AMHS Terminal project for Prince Rupert did not make
the list of State Transportation Improvement projects for 2018-2021

As part of his review of his recent trip to Juneau, Alaska Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain made note of discussions on themes related to the Alaska Marine Highway Terminal in Prince Rupert and hopes for some progress on the long delayed rebuild of the marine infrastructure.

The Mayor's report on his Alaska travels made for a recent contribution to his Facebook post through his social media stream, as well as a pair of interviews with local media.

However, if a review of the recently delivered State of Alaska's Transportation Improvement Plan is an indication, the AMHS terminal project for Prince Rupert may remain more of a long term goal, than anything that will be resolved in short order.

The STIP review, which lists all of the proposed projects for the period of 2018-2021 checked in at 54 pages and when it comes to spending plans for the Alaska Marine Highway System, the money will be staying in Alaska it seems.

The review highlights a range of projects proposed for attention, all of them on the Alaska side of the A/B line, leaving the Prince Rupert Terminal plans to their ongoing station of limbo for the time being.

Further clouding issues related to the ferry connection between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan is some pending legislation in Juneau.

With the Alaska Marine Highway System the subject of a state review at the moment, that as the Alaska Legislature considers a number of bills that will look to address issues related to stable funding and maintaining the route system of the service.

You can review the full STIP document here, with notes related to the AMHS found on pages 22 to 25.

Our neighbours in the north in Ketchikan will also see some other state spending on transportation, with another segment of the report focusing on road and infrastructure projects that have been listed for the Southeast Alaska region, the review of those plans can be reviewed on pages 42 to 46.

Ketchikan's Airport Ferry is the subject
of some significant funding proposals
as part of a state of Alaska
Transportation plan
(photo Borough of Ketchikan)
Another area that might be of interest to those of us on the North coast is how the Ketchikan airport transportation system is funded.

Like Prince Rupert, Ketchikan residents access their airport by way of a ferry, however unlike the civic funding burden for our service to and from Digby Island,  Ketchikan's transportation link is about to receive some significant funding from state and federal sources.

The STIP for 2018-2021 highlights 11 different projects related to the Ketchikan Airport ferry system which will propose some 85 million dollars be put towards terminals, docks, berthing facilities and road connections.

Those notes are available from pages 51 to 53.

That proposed injection of federal and state money provides for a good indication as to just how different the approach to  transportation issues are handled between BC and Alaska.

A quick guide as to what the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan is all about is available here.

The public comment period for the Draft document will end on March 16th, so final revisions to the list could see some of the proposed projects deferred, or modified and in some cases cancelled.

Those revisions and changes are something that Prince Rupert knows a little bit about, the AMHS Terminal plans for Fairview were first outlined back in March of 2014 and almost immediately became the  nature of a still unresolved spat between the two countries.

Alaska Marine Highway signs 50 year lease for Fairview Terminal
Alaska Marine Highway Terminal plan moves forward with release of Environmental Management Plan

As we've since seen, other factors (say an international dispute over construction materials for instance) can intervene to leave many a good plan on a shelf.

For more items of note on the Alaska Marine Highway system see our archive page here.

With an interest as to what issues are making news to our neighbours to the north we also keep track of plans for the Ketchikan Borough through our municipal archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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