Alaska Class Ferries
The Alaska Class Ferry Project is key to the long term viability of the Alaska Marine Highway System, on which many of our region's small villages depend for reliable transportation of goods, people, and vehicles and which contributes to our sizable tourism economy in Southeast Alaska. The project involves the design and construction of a number of new ferries that are designed specifically for Alaska's climate and for our transportation needs. These new ferries will eventually lead to the retirement of some of our older aging ferries, reducing operation and maintenance costs by incorporating more efficient engine and hull designs and by eliminating staterooms and other amenities not necessary to the shuttle runs that comprise much of our transportation needs. The Alaska Legislature and our current governor have been supportive of the project, allocating $60 million to it in each of the last two fiscal years.
The design and construction of these Alaska Class Ferries has the potential to help grow Alaska's ship construction infrastructure and capabilities. Ketchikan's Alaska Ship and Drydock has been involved in the design of the Alaska Class Ferries, and will likely be in charge of constructing them as well. By one estimate, such construction would bring roughly an additional 200 year round jobs to Ketchikan, helping build a sustainable economy in Southeast Alaska.
SEACC has long been an advocate for Southeast Alaska's ferry system, as a reliable, cost-efficient means of transporting goods, people, and vehicles throughout our region. We are very supportive of the Alaska Class Ferry Project, which will need substantial and continued investment over the next decade to be successful. See our advertisement in the Juneau Empire's 2012 Guide to the Alaska Legislature below. A similar 1/4 page ad also ran several times in the Juneau Empire in March 2012.