On behalf of the Board of Directors and Membership of the Valdez Convention % Visitors Bureau we support a reformed, right-sized and sustainable Alaska Marine Highway System as a critical component of the statewide intermodal transportation system and economy of Alaska. Valdez CVB promotes our area as a year around destination for travel and tourism. As a tourism promoter, and a coastal community, the Marine Highway not only brings visitors but services. Keep the marine highway open for business to help grow the travel and tourism industry in the great state of Alaska.Submitted: October 21, 2019
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Feedback | Alaska Marine Highway Reform Project - http://www.amhsreform.comSubmitted: October 14, 2019
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To your success!Submitted: October 09, 2019
The longer I contribute to AbleRise.net, the more I learn about what people with disabilities are looking for information on - and what’s really hard for them to dig up. One subject I hear about time and time again is how it can be difficult to find financially-supportive resources for the disabled community. After all, finances are confusing enough without having to factor in a health condition. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together some of the information I’ve kept on hand since this is something we get asked about a lot, and since you and your site are such authorities on how to thrive with a disability, I invite you to share it with your readers (a resources page would be a great spot).
Your Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Your Disability Insurance Policy
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UNSUBSCRIBE : Reply "no"Submitted: September 24, 2019
The AMHS provides our family (including 2 adult daughters son in law & grand son) essential transportation to visit family & friends in other coastal communities along with medical services to the Seattle area & leisure travel in Southeast Alaska & beyond. Flying is more difficult with my husband's medical problems & quite frankly the ferry is a more enjoyable way to travel because it is less stressful. When flying, we have been weathered out of returning home if flying...not so with the AMHS.Submitted: September 21, 2019
I work all over coastal alaska and the ferry is vital. Make a reliable schedule, improve access from urban hubs, control prices; patronage will increase. The ferry works, if we let it.Submitted: July 28, 2019
Fire the union workers and hire individuals who are willing to work. This strike needs to stop now! It's costing me thousands of dollars in additional barge and travel costs and I STILL am unsure if I'll make it home. I'll need to pay more money.
Tell the union to accept the state's offer or fire them. Period. This is outrageous.Submitted: July 26, 2019
To the AMHS, the Marine Advisory Board, and the Southeast Conference:
It is inconceivable that Alaska loses its ferry service. Lives have been built, communities and businesses and populations have grown, economies have been stimulated, construction has been enabled, visitors have gained access, and relationships have been fostered between town residents because of the state ferry system. Nothing can replace this traffic and exchange of goods, services, and community interactions. The ferry availability positively affects the entire state’s social and economic structure and the benefits extend far beyond state boundaries.
Like all highways, the ferry system has required state and federal subsidy for maintenance and survival. I don't live in Southcentral Alaska, but I don't begrudge the funds needed to support the Parks Highway, for example; the population majority in that area doesn’t have to shoulder full cost of that road and should likewise respect the importance of marine highways to Alaskan coastal communities and the need to support them. The marine highway links to the Alcan Highway from Haines and Skagway are critical. When I lived in Juneau, we took the ferry to Haines or Skagway to be able to drive to see family in Anchorage and Fairbanks or attend work-related meetings.
Regarding the Operating Plan: overall, there’s more blue & green color indicating some kind of OUT-OF-SERVICE status than there is yellow & orange color indicating vessel time IN-SERVICE. This is very disturbing. It’s unclear what the 2 new ships, HUB & TAZ, are doing. I can’t find a definition for “CIP,” but from the MAL schedule it appears to be the "Federal Project "(whatever THAT is).
First & foremost, "essential service" is service that exists. Different communities have different needs for "essential service" and it changes seasonally. Pelican's needs are not the same as Kodiak's or Juneau's. Overall, "essential service" would be a core minimum of reliability and would be at least weekly for all communities in summer, more for the larger community hubs, and would be reduced to just several days a month in winter when local people tend to travel less and it’s off-season for tourists. Residents and tourists will adapt to a reliable and consistent minimum service level, but a service gap of 6 weeks such as planned for winter in Haines is not acceptable. Such small towns without jet airports, even though we have a highway out, need the ferry consistently in winter because weather can prevent air & highway travel. We can plan IF we know what to expect, but we CAN’T PLAN if there is no service and virtually no alternative!
I support creation of a public corporation to manage an overhauled state ferry system. A FORWARD-THINKING, simpler, consistent and reliable vessel schedule that allows for boatyard time for maintenance and emergencies would help to stabilize the system. Long-term thinking to support our communities and businesses with ferry service is critical. We need long-term thinking to budget for maintenance, unforeseen mechanical or accident-related failures, and getting functional replacement vessels. This must go beyond a single administration, and a public corporation could be an effective way to achieve it.
Regarding revenues, a fee could be charged for transporting goods via the baggage carts. Part of the PFD earnings could be used to support ferry transportation. I'd rather support public services with the PFD than get a bigger check - my educated guess is that most PFD's don't stay in the state to benefit our economy. Passenger-only vessels could be added to the fleet: my guess is it's cheaper to get from Pelican to Juneau for business & shopping without your car, then rent one in the larger community, and just put your purchases on the ferry baggage cart when you return. Maybe a larger cart could be provided (and supported by charging a fee for its use: something like 1 parcel/suitcase free, then $5 for each bag or box thereafter) for this type of commute.
Continuing thoughts on 7-24-2019
I have just written to our Southeast Alaska Senators and Representatives about the brand-new AMHS ferry system strike debacle. The general budget situation and extended legislative sessions to address them are bad enough, but now the ferry strike is ridiculous drama almost beyond bearing. I quote myself below:
“A huge hunk of Haines has been preparing for months and setting up the last several days for the SEAK State Fair. As you know, we are SO dependent on the AMHS for this event. The SEAK State Fair is a huge highlight and economic benefit for Haines' small businesses; it's a supporter of, and annual highlight event for, regional youth 4-H and craftspeople such as quilters; it brings some of the Outside world to us in entertainers and visitors who foster exchange of ideas; it also showcases the local non-profit organizations and countless volunteers who work really hard to make the Fair a high quality, entertaining, and fun experience. Many of us spend untold hours of uncompensated time just for the joy of seeing the community come out and our extended communities reunite. And as Vice Chair of Haines Friends of Recycling and a "worker bee" who helps to make our Zero Waste fair happen (reducing the Fair's waste stream by some 90%!), the strike is devastating news. I personally have 4 sets of friends and family coming to visit during the Fair, 3 of whom who are also making a road trip into the Interior. The Fair connects all of Southeast and brings in representation from Interior Alaska - and we need the ferry to make that happen! This is just one such event that hugely impacts our communities - the Haines Brewfest, the Eaglefest, the International Kluane Bike Relay, Sitka Whalefest, the Skagway Klondike Road Relay, Petersburg's Little Norway, school sports: all manner of festivals and celebrations and competitions around Southeast rely on the ferry system in a similar way as the SEAK State Fair does. I'm a lifelong resident of the State of Alaska who has extensively used the ferry system for nearly 60 years: I grew up in Wrangell riding the ferries since 1963 for all manner of school events, lived in Kodiak, worked in Prince William Sound, spent a 39 year career in Juneau, and now I live in Haines. We are simply sickened by the latest AMHS system threats illustrated by the need for the Inland Boatmen's Union to strike because of prolonged wage issues and the current governor's draconian budget....”
Submitted: July 24, 2019