Alaskans no longer have unrestricted vehicle traffic in and out of Canada to Alaska. These restrictions, while well-meaning by our Canadian neighbors, have effectively resulted in “fencing in” our state.
A declaration is necessary to highlight the injustice to our state and to ensure that emergency federal highway funds become available to utilize our marine highway. Vehicular traffic to and from Alaska by way of the Alcan Highway or the connection from Haines and Skagway are both restricted.
We should take two of our mainline oceangoing ferries, the Columbia and the Malaspina out of winter layoff and place one on a run from Bellingham to Seward and the other ship to Southeast Alaska. In fairness, Alaska is the only state so affected with loss of vehicle connection to the rest of the United States. We need assistance from our governor, the state administration, as well as our congressional delegation in seeking an interim solution for federal funding. The state should work in concert with the unions to ensure that fare rates are sustainable and reasonable.
I submitted an opinion piece to the Wall Street Journal, which was published March 18 elaborating on the predicament in Alaska. Consequently, I have had several inquiries on what action the state might be prepared to take.
Former U.S. senator and eighth governor of Alaska