• The Alaska Marine Highway is vital to the economy of Southeast Alaska all communities need to have connection with each other as a basic need to each other for economy travel,education and cultural services all year round.

    This summer I was traveling our roads in Sitka and noticed that of the traveling RV's that usually come and go from Sitka stay in our RV parks and all the spaces are EMPTY. This is impacting the economy of the AMHS and the communities that thrive on summer income to support the winter year round services.

    My family lives in Kake the travel to and from Kake is impossible to travel in a short turnaround without diversions to Petersburg or Juneau which add travel money to the family connection. There were to events that included cultural activities that myself and my grandsons missed because there is no possible ferry travel. The Kake Culture camp and the Kake Dog Salmon Fest. The children are losing opportunities to connect with their traditions.

    Working for the regional tribe CCTHITA it has been noted that travel to and from Sitka to Angoon is never available and services have been cut back this summer to and from Juneau to low levels for travel.

    The ferry system is in need of reform to increase the community connections to improve the economy of each community it serves. The AMHS should be receiving federal highway funds to make the service operate at the best levels all federal highways are maintained with paved roads and the best lighting systems. The TSA funds should contribute to the AMHS as well to ensure safe passage for all to and from Alaska.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

  • For more revenue, prices can be increased by 25% and still be very economical compared to the bush alternatives.
    For necessary public funding the legislature needs to take a ferry boat trip to places like Pelican to better understand the necessity of the service.
    For operating efficiencies a reduced kitchen service, with more of a convenience store arrangement, would save considerable labor costs and possibly be subcontracted.
    An "essential service" can be easily defined as one that will absolutely negatively affect a community if removed.
    Thank you for this opportunity to comment, it indicated genuine concern and a realistic problem solving approach.

  • Cordova is a unique and valuable community. Reliable, sustained ferry service is vital to keeping our community this way, and to grow. The AK Marine Hwy was never intended to be a 'for profit' endeavor. It was created to serve the people in remote areas where there is no other viable option. While it is understood that the budget is tight, it is the State's mandate to adequately fund the AK Ferry system to ensure that citizens have this resource. I use the ferry at least twice a year to bring my vehicle in and out of the community to buy needed supplies, travel, maintain the vehicle, etc. The ferry is the most economical(and often the only way) to accomplish these tasks.

  • "What can be done to generate more operating revenue while still providing affordable service?"
    I think we should open the ships and terminals up to private vendors. We could rent out space on the ships to people who want to provide goods, or services to our passengers. For example; someone could install a movie server on a ship, that rents movies via WiFi. We provide space, power and someone to reset it, and they pay us for the privilege. The vendor buys the equipment, maintains it, and they keep the profits. This way, any costs will be born by the vendor, not the state. Proposals will need vetting by the state, since there may be union conflicts, or safety concerns.

  • While I am currently a resident of Anchorage I have been making annual (in April) trips to Cordova for the last six years. This year was the second year that I was able to utilize the ferry system. The limited schedule of availability has forced me to fly (and rent a vehicle). The first time five (?) years ago I was able to travel on the fast ferry, but this year I utilized the Aurora which even though it was much slower at least I was able to use the ferry system.

    I hope to retire in a couple of years and have been planning on moving back to Cordova. One of my concerns is knowing that there will be adequate ferry service for the next twenty years. It would be high risk investment if the ferry system was to all of a sudden be reduced to a limited or no scheduled service, or a very expensive service.

  • Change your name from Southeast Conference to something more inclusive of all communities, such as 'Alaska Coastal Conference'. Politically we need to shed the idea that the ferry is only of concern in Southeast. PWS, Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak communities are involved and occasionally Aleutian chain communities. Not to mention that many customers are headed to the Interior. "Southeast" conference is maintaining an old handicap.

  • 1) Run the system like a cruise line. They do not make any money on ticket sales. They make all their money from onboard revenue. They charge for WiFi, Drinks (Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic), Casino, Tours, Shopping, Art, Photos, Movies, etc. Also, it is far cheaper to take a cruise to get from WA to Whittier. Further, if there is any traction with the Jones Act repeal, cruise lines could put AMHS out of business.
    2) Ticket prices are unaffordable for many and only make fiscal sense to purchase over an airplane ticket for a handful of communities. The smaller communities will be the ones to suffer most if this trend continues.
    3) Develop and implement a multi-year plan that is at minimum 5 years out. Schedules should be available to book for 1 year out at all times and incorporate yield management to offer promotions again.

  • I feel that to restructure a more solid and firm foundation for financial needs of the Alaska Marine Highway, as with anything, it would have to be broke down and torn apart and replaced with more functional necessities.
    The first problem is AMHS should not be run by politics.
    The second, it is entirely mismanaged by either inexperienced or unqualified people. Who at KCO has actually made it to the level of Captain of a ship or more specifically, a ferry Captain of AMHS? Port captains are hired with little-to-no experience and handle the job with insecurities to the Captains beneath them who actually have the experience necessary, but go largely ignored with their input.
    Third, treat your employees better on the vessels. All workong aboard from top to bottom.
    You keep doing the same thing with the same ineffective people, you get the same negative result.
    Change your management out from the ineffective and unproductive people and replace with people who can do the job right.

  • My thought is this: if the ferry system is struggling because of low passenger count, why not lower the prices to encourage more people to ride the ferries? More people riding the boats would be bringing in more income than the sparse numbers or the seasonal riders.

  • I'm a life long Alaskan & remember the ferry Malispina stopping in Cordova where I was born & raised. The AMHS offered the communiity a free ride on it, this was 1963. The rest is history & we're "hooked". I've lived in Kodiak now for 44 yrs., we make 2-5 trips in a year on the AMHS. With the Tustemena still out of service, it leaves a lot to be desired to travel using the Kennicott. A recent trip leaving Kodiak on a Friday morning, driving all the way to Anchorage, put me there @ midnight. Only because I asked to be placed so I could be on one of the first lifts. With such a large load, I could have been on the car deck waiting for over 2 hours. I left Anchorage around 5 p.m. Saturday, driving back to Homer for the night, catching the ferry back Sunday morning. This time of year with USCG personal transferring, the loads are huge. I was on the car deck in Kodiak over 2 hours waiting to get off. I had 2 coolers with fresh & frozen meats, needing to be tended to, once home. We really need a roll on, roll off dock to eliminate long waits. The schedules should be adjusted for the busier time when there is the transfering happening & tourists with motor homes. It's like "take it or leave it" attitude to us when it comes to the ferry service.