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IFA ferry not included in state budget

 

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Funding for the Inter-island Ferry Authority was not included in any state budgets passed by lawmakers during the 2013 Legislative session.

A failure by the Alaska State Legislature to include a regional ferry in their 2013-14 budgets may have a significant impact on a carrier serving portions of Southeast.

Funding for the Inter-island Ferry Authority was not included in any state budgets passed by lawmakers during the 2013 Legislative session.

After failing to get funding for the IFA system, general manager Dennis Watson released a statement to “assure” the public that avenues were being explored to maintain the current level of service.

“We are diligently working to determine options available to IFA at this time” he stated. “We face some difficult decisions over the next few months but I want to assure our users there will be plenty of notice if those decisions require any significant change to our current operations.”

Watson also added that increases to IFA tariffs are not being considered at this time.

The IFA provides daily passenger and vehicle ferry service between Prince of Wales Island and Ketchikan. The operation is able to cover 75 percent of its annual $4 million dollar budget through ticket sales – though it relies on State and Federal funding for the remaining 25 percent.

“Absence of any level of funding from the State presents a significant financial challenge to IFA management and Board of Directors,” Watson added. “Full effort is now being directed toward seeking alternative funding sources and determining what other options are available to this small ferry system that started out as a new idea eleven years ago and has grown into a model for reliable and efficient delivery of public transportation service in rural Alaska.”

 

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