Petersburg Pilot -


Council votes to support ferry service, SEAtrails


The M/V Taku cruising out of Wrangell Narrows and North through Frederick Sound.

The Petersburg City Council on Monday voted in favor of supporting the Alaska Marine Highway (AMHS) Bellingham run, and the replacement of current ferries.

According to the resolution, AMHS has been serving Alaska's coastal communities with vehicle, freight and passenger transportation for about 50 years.

As in the hard-link road and rail system throughout the interior of Alaska, the ferry system relies on State and Federal funding. But also similar to the roadway, it will never be self-sustaining.

The Council unanimously passed a resolution to support the Preliminary Alternative 1 of the Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan to retain the Bellingham run and to replace the existing ferry fleet.

With the passing of this resolution, the City also reinstated the transportation committee. The Council has used this committee from time to time over the years. The members of the Transportation Committee are appointed and meet to debate issues such as ferry schedules and other regional transportation matters.

The last Transportation Committee meeting was held in July 2007, when members discussed encouraging the State to conduct a study for a direct ferry from Petersburg to Juneau.

“We are going to reinstate the transportation committee,” said Mayor Al Dwyer, adding that the committee will have to have at least one meeting to make recommendations and that they can appoint their own chairperson.

The Council passed unanimously a resolution supporting the Southeast Alaska Trail System (SEAtrails) and its mission for an interconnected trail system that enhances economic development, transportation, and quality of life in Southeast Alaska.

The Alaska Supreme Court recently ordered the state's new political boundaries be redrawn with a stricter adherence to the Alaska Constitution.

“It is difficult to predict what this will mean for the Southeast,” said Mayor Dwyer.

The Petersburg City Council unanimously voted to re-submit a proposal that it remain in a district with Sitka instead of being bundled with the much larger city of Juneau.

City offices will be closed on Monday, March 26, for the Seward's Day holiday, a State holiday that falls on the last Monday in March and commemorates the signing of the Alaska Purchase treaty on March 30, 1867.


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