I encourage all of you who love not only the faithful M/V Tustumena, but the service of all the Alaska Marine Highway System vessels to their ports to speak up and push back on this plan to do away with our ferries! Nearly 130,000 Alaskans live in coastal Alaska and will be affected by the lack of ferry service.  Here’s what the proponents of this insane closure would have you believe: 

“Southeast Conference is excited to partner with the State of Alaska to reform and revitalize the state’s ferry system. The Conference was formed in 1958 with the goal of establishing the Alaska Marine Highway System, and today, the marine highway system extends across 3,500 miles of scenic coastline and provides service to over 30 communities. But due to many factors, and exacerbated by the state’s fiscal crisis, the Alaska Marine Highway System is at a critical juncture and at risk of failure. Once again, Southeast Conference is leading the effort to “re-create” the ferry system into an organization that can continue to provide vital transportation services to the many user groups and industries that rely on it daily.”

I call BS! Our ferry system doesn’t need to be ‘reformed’ it needs to be funded and properly operated. We must get on the bullhorn and object to this nonsense of sacrificing the ferry system to an unconstitutional budget bomb. You better believe that when the Glenn Highway or the Parks Highway gets shutdown, everyone from Fairbanks to the MatSu to Anchorage is screaming their head off to their senator, representative and mayor. We are going to have to do the same thing to prevent our marine highway system from being dismantled!

If your town is a member of Southeast Conference, you better get on the phone right now and tell them what you think of their bogus ‘reform’. Here’s the website: http://www.seconference.org/ and here’s the phone number: 586-4360. Fill up that voicemail box with your disgust at this shortsighted destructive move. They are definitely not living up to their mission of ‘advancing the collective interests of the people, communities and businesses in Southeast Alaska’.

In the Westward, if your town is a member of the SW Alaska Municipal Conference, same thing: write, call, complain long and loud, again and again. SWAMC website: https://swamc.org/ and here’s the phone number: 562-7380.

Call and write letters to your local news editors and radio and TV stations to demand that they do investigative reporting on the effects this will have on your coastal communities’ economy. Because it will be costly and ugly.

Call and write your legislator, give them the support and backup they need to stop this move. 

Call and write your mayor, your city council members, your borough mayor and tell them you will not stand for this.

And, you can write online to the AMHS directly at: http://www.amhsreform.com/contact

This, my friends, is a real emergency and we need to act, and act now! Does all this make you as angry and disgusted as I am? Then channel that energy into positive motion by telling all the people involved in this debacle what you think! It’s our ferry system and we need them to listen to us! All of us!

J. Pennelope Goforth


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