Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Backlash brewing in Alaska over proposed Rupert Terminal purchase

The plan that the Alaska Marine Highway System is proposing of late, to purchase the Fairview Bay Terminal from Prince Rupert is finding a bit of opposition on our northern flank.

One Alaskan lawmaker, Paul Seaton, is questioning why the System wants to run traffic through a Canadian port in the first place, let along purchase infrastructure in Rupert and own the terminal here.

Ed Schonfeld of Alaska Public radio, outlined some of the background on the bubbling issue. In the report, Seaton the state representative for Homer, suggests that the Ferry Systems plans to use Rupert as a southern terminus isn’t being greeting overwhelmingly by Alaskans. Many of whom it seems would prefer to see the ferry system sail through to Bellingham, Washington.

The AMHS has increased sailings on the Rupert runs, while reducing runs to Washington State, a situation that isn’t sitting well with some of Alaska’s travelling public. And while the sailings to Prince Rupert are not full, they are getting more use, making Rupert an important part of the future for the Ferry Service.

One of the key elements of using Rupert option is the ability to have more frequent sailings in southeast Alaska, a situation that would not be possible if Bellingham became the destination of choice for ferry users.

The state will continue to take input from the public until the end of July; they will weigh that input when it comes time to make decisions on the long term future of the Alaska Ferry service in Southeast Alaska, a decision which could have a major impact on Prince Rupert’s spot as the southern terminus.
The proposed purchase of the Alaska Ferry Dock has been noted on our blog a number of times in the last little while.
The full report, as well as a number of links to items of interest on the debate can be found on the KBRD website.

No comments: