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ALASKA MARINE HIGHWAY ANALYSES REEFING OF ONE OF ITS FERRIES TO REDUCE COSTS
Team Sea and Coast | 03/04/2021
Alaska Marine Highway (AMH) is considering reefing one of its oldest vessels after long plagued by financial shortfall and state budget cuts, as it exploring practices to reduce costs. Marine Highway System, runs with four vessels on its mainline and five more for day boat and shuttle service, considering vital services connection many of the coastal communities of the state, the commission has been examining its future. 
 
Mike Dunleavy, Alaska State Governor, cutted $7 million from the Marine Highway System budget for 2022. This underfunding of the system resulted in not providing for long-term maintenance of the fleet and construction of the new ship. The governor suggested, converting the operation into a self funded state owned corporation by eliminating annual subsidies. 
 
Attention has now turned towards the system's seeking lower costs and debris in long-term lay-up. 
The state's Department of Transportation(DOT), looking at vessels being held in long-term storage for AMH, announced that it had completed the sale of the system's two high speed ferries for a significant financial loss. DOT says, disposing of Malaspina, one of the three sister ships which originally made up the AMHs fleet, is one way to lower costs. 
 
In a meeting this week of the Alaska House's finance committee, they told the legislators that it is costing $450,000 a year to maintain the ship in its ongoing cold lay-up. AMHs could scrap the vessel or DOT explores another idea for the Malaspina to sink her as an artificial reef. 
 
However, disposing of the Malaspina would not solve AMHS's financial hardships. The legislators also proposed removal of the Governor's proposal of cutting $7 million to maintain the budget at current scenario. As part of the hearings, the commission is recommending renovations to the operations but concluded that the state needs to subsidize AMHS if it wants to maintain the service.
 
#Sea and coast News
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