Letter: Time to honor Prop. 10

About 45 years ago (on the 1970 ballot), Alaskans were asked to approve Proposition 10 — the State General Obligation Ferry Construction asking for $21 million. The proposition identified that two sister ships, each approximately 200 feet in length with capacity for 150 to 175 passengers and 35-40 vehicles, would be constructed to extend service to southern communities. Among its provisions were:

• Vessel one was a southern panhandle vessel to serve Ketchikan, Hollis, Metlakatla and Prince Rupert. It would offer shuttle service and be capable of serving all its ports of call daily. It would also provide Ketchikan-Prince Rupert service in the summer months.

• The second vessel was for the “Northern Panhandle Route,” in which a sister ship would connect Sitka with the villages of Hoonah, Angoon and Gustavus. The ferry would ply the Juneau-Haines route during the summer. Under the plan, Hoonah would benefit from improved ferry service and Angoon would be served for the first time.

The vote passed 42,901-30,193. It is time we honor this proposition and put the ferry system back into service for which it was intended: To serve the citizens of Southeast Alaska. John Falvey, general manager for the ferry system, and Michael Neussl, deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Transportation, need to fix the ferry schedule to meet the intent of the bond approved. We did not approve it to be a cruise ship or RV transportation service. It was intended to provide safe, reliable transportation to and from our communities.

We will always live on islands, so addressing safe, reliable transportation requires a dedicated ferry system.

Myrna Gardner