Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Alaska outlines State Transportation plans for 2018-21, with AMHS Terminal in Prince Rupert still on a back burner

Planned renovations for AMHS facilities in Prince Rupert appear to remain on
hold, with the Project not listed in the 2018 State Transportation Improvement plan

The State of Alaska has released its final report on planned Transportation work for a three year period ahead and for Prince Rupert, as a casual observer,  the status of the Alaska Marine Highway Terminal remediation project at Fairview Bay would still appear to be in a holding pattern.

The extensive renovation project for the AMHS gateway out of Prince Rupert has been held up over the last four years by issues related to the sourcing of materials and how the US Government policy of Buy America would fit into the scope of the project.

The climate for any further discussion certainly hasn't been helped by the growing level of acrimony on many issues related to trade between Canada and the US since the Trump administration took office in 2017.

The AMHS project was first proposed for development back in 2014 and quickly generated a fair bit of controversy, mostly related to the nature of that Buy America policy of the US government.

The theme of the AMHS terminal in Prince Rupert has been a topic of note for Mayor Lee Brain since he took office in the fall of 2014, with the Mayor having discussed the project with Alaskan officials on his trips north in recent years.

So far however, the project has remained stalled with little indication that any progress is being made to address the issues that have led to the delay in repair to some vital infrastructure for transportation for Alaska.

And while the Prince Rupert Terminal no longer makes it into the annual update, Alaska is making some significant investments across the state and for our neighbours in Ketchikan the funding projects are many, with road, bridge and tunnel work and local airport ferry investment key to the funding allocations.

For Mayor Brain, the level of State funding for Ketchikan's airport infrastructure needs must be the kind of thing that he and Prince Rupert City Council members can only dream of when it comes to funding from a senior level of government.

The City of Prince Rupert has often documented the burden it faces when it comes to the transportation connection between Digby Island and the City's Fairview dock, a situation which finds the city's taxpayers on the hook for the investment and operations of the ferry to Digby.

Things appear somewhat different in Ketchikan, where the State of Alaska has outlined an ambitious timeline ahead for a number of transportation initiatives.

Among some of the State funding ahead for the Ketchikan airport transportation system are improvements to terminal buildings, purchase of new shuttle buses, paving of access roads to the Ketchikan airport and modifications and expansion plans for the vehicle ferry that takes passengers back and forth between the airport dock and the City side.

The full report (available here) outlines the full range of Alaska Transportation projects both for the AMHS service and for communities across the state.

For those looking to review the volume of projects for the Borough of Ketchikan scroll down to near the bottom of the report for the overview for the year ahead.

For more items of interest related to the Alaska Marine Highway system see our archive page here.

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