If it was up to the state of Alaska and the City of Prince Rupert, an agreement would have been immediately signed this week to temporarily reinstate ferry service from Ketchikan, said Mayor Lee Brain.
The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) is scheduled to end service from Ketchikan to Prince Rupert at the end of the month.
Brain headed to Juneau this week to meet with senior state officials including transportation commissioner John MacKinnon, and the governor’s chief of staff Ben Stevens, to present solutions to the problems facing AMHS service to Prince Rupert. The issues include a failure to secure an armed RCMP presence to protect American officials, budget cuts and jurisdictional issues over AMHS dock repairs in Prince Rupert.
Brain said he presented “an immediate solution that could see the reinstatement of the winter schedule for the AMHS into Prince Rupert,” but must wait for more information regarding clearance issues from Canadian and American border protection agencies.
“At this stage, it will take a few weeks for some details to be figured out regarding the immediate solution,” Brain said.
Mayor Brain also presented a temporary solution that could see service reinstated for the next two years, along with a permanent solution.
“It’s clear to me that folks from the state have a true desire to solve this problem. It’s also clear to me that the majority of folks across Southeast Alaska wish to see access to Prince Rupert,” Brain said.
The mayor is currently in Sitka, Alaska meeting with mayors, legislators, senators, union leaders and local businesses regarding the AMHS.
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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