Alaskans were left stranded up and down the southern coast earlier this year when state budget slashing cut o deep into the Alaska Marine Highway system - leaving ships without funding for repairs and communities with no way to freight in critical items like food.
The Alaska State Legislature is attempting to correct the situation by approving a $20 million increase to the state operating budget for a $66.7 million total appropriation for the ferries.
The budget adds funds to repair the Aurora and add crew quarters to either the Hubbard or the Tazlina to make the ship more versatile.
Decades ago Alaskans decided to institute a marine highway system instead of undertaking the expense of trying to hook remote areas of the coast together by road. Over 40% of the ferry budget comes from ticket sales.