Anchorage, AK --
Aside from a small ferry running between Ketchikan and Metlakatla, nine of ten ferries are out of service, which is causing a headache for residents who rely on the Marine Highway System as their main form of transportation.
"It's essential to the state of Alaska, absolutely essential to people who live outside of the Anchorage Bowl," said Former Legislator and Activist, Charles Sassara.
The Matanuska has been out for repairs for nearly 3 weeks now. The rest of the fleet are being overhauled or are tied up for budget reasons following the Alaska Marine Highway System's 43 million dollar budget cut for this fiscal year.
"I think the cuts are wrong and we need to re-invest in this system. I mean, imagine you were in a community and there was only one road in or out and that road was closed for six or seven months a year, imagine the kind of impact that would have on you and your community and how difficult that would make it for your community to thrive," said Anchorage Assembly Chair Forrest Dunbar.
The Alaska Department of Transportation, which oversees the Marine
Highway System says they understand residents frustrations and relief is coming -but it's not a lot. According to the state's website, Matanuska will set sail March 2nd and Tazlina on the 5th. However, with no word on the other seven ferries, rough seas may still be on the horizon.
©Copyright 2020 Coastal Television. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.