In the community of Angoon, the Alaska Marine Highway System provides much-needed transportation services. With the current ferry schedule of two days a week, two days apart, we have learned to adapt to spending one day shopping in Juneau.
Our town relies on the ferry for sports travel, school trips, stocking our local store, projects and construction, vehicle travel, locals shopping and medical travel for those who cannot climb aboard floatplanes. Losing the ferry in Angoon would also affect the capital, in that they would lose the tax dollars that Southeast residents have paid for countless years while shopping in the capital city.
Without a ferry, Angoon would be limited to air service only. We do not currently have a viable commercial barge landing, and no air strip, so our only way of getting people and freight in and out without a ferry will be via Alaska Seaplanes, which has limited flights, limited space and is also responsible for the delivery of mail.
Angoon is just one of several Alaska towns in the same ferry-dependent boat. Stopping ferry service would be as destructive to our communities as shutting down Parks Highway would be to Mat-Su Valley.
If the intent of the state government is to shut down small ferry-serviced villages and towns, and make everyone move to the urban centers, then shutting down the ferry system is the way to do it. If the intent is to save the state some money, then we should consider pulling back corporate oil tax credits instead of dropping the budgetary hammer on the most vulnerable Alaskans.
Mayor of Angoon
• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.