The Alaska State Marine Highway Ferry Fairweather pulls up to the Auke Bay Terminal in this 2014 file photo.

The Alaska State Marine Highway Ferry Fairweather pulls up to the Auke Bay Terminal in this 2014 file photo.

Legislature to hear public testimony on ferry system and PFD

There will be opportunity to testify Tuesday at the Capitol regarding proposed budget cuts

Now’s the time to make your voice heard on proposed budget cuts.

The House Transportation Committee will take public testimony on the Alaska Marine Highway System Tuesday from 1:30-3 p.m., and then again from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

The Senate State Affairs committee is also hearing testimony on the Permanent Fund Dividend payback plan starting at 6 p.m.

The ferry system is facing a $97 million cut — 75 percent of its budget — under Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget for fiscal 2020. The ferry system may only operate seasonally instead of year-round. The AMHS has stopped taking reservations after Oct. 1.

The AMHS could be facing up to 253 union job losses under Dunleavy’s proposed budget, according to Robb Arnold, a member of the Inland Boatman’s Union. The IBU is one of three unions that work with the ferry system. That job reduction would include 100 jobs in Juneau and 81 in Ketchikan, Arnold said. Arnold said he and other union members learned that this during a meeting in February with Department of Transportation officials.

For those wanting to testify, please go to your local Legislative Information Office (LIO) either between 1:30-3 p.m. or between 5:30 and 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

LIO Locations are as follows: Anchorage: 1500 West Benson Boulevard; Cordova: 418 First Street, Suite A; Dillingham: Kangiiqutaq Building; Homer: 270 West Pioneer Avenue, Suite B; Juneau: Alaska Capitol Building, Room 124; Kenai: 145 Main Street Loop, Suite 217; Ketchikan: 1900 First Avenue, Suite 310; Kodiak: 305 Center Avenue, Suite 1; Petersburg: 11B Gjoa Street; Seward: 302 Railway, Suite 107; Sitka: 201 Katlian Street; Valdez: State Office Building, Room 13; and Wrangell: 223 Front Street.

People who live in villages or other rural areas without an LIO can call 844-586-9085. These phone lines are limited, so the best bet to be heard is to go to an LIO if you live in an area that has one.


• Contact reporter Mollie Barnes at mbarnes@juneauempire.com or 523-2228.


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