Letter: Lawmakers are taking away the marine highway

Do you remember the friendly days of our state’s ferry system? The Alaska Marine Highway System would change schedules for our students’ sporting events or other community events like Gold Medal.

Two years ago, the Taku was ordered out of the shipyard, it was undergoing maintenance and having an engine repaired. Gov. Sean Parnell ordered the ship to go Wrangell for the rededication of their longhouse. Even if the Taku was to be towed or tugboat-assisted, it was going. It was to be used as a hotel ship because there were not enough hotels in Wrangell for the event (thank you, Parnell).

If our Legislatures and the powers to be in Juneau can cut jobs, troopers, terminal agents, road maintenance crews and lay up five state ferries and send their crews home, then why don’t we send the Kennicott or Taku (current in lay up with no service in the near future) to Juneau for the legislative session to house lawmakers. They can forfeit their per-diem and take a cut like all the other state workers. Let’s see how serious they are now about saving state money.

Alaska’s legislators need to be more accountable. They are taking our ferry system away, one of few transportation hubs for the residents of Southeast Alaska. Each Administration tries to revamp the ferry system to make money rather than let it be the marine highway it was originally designed to be.

Brita Alander