$131 million more in infrastructure funds to support rural ferry service

Washington, D.C. (KINY) – U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, Thursday announced the Federal Transit Administration is awarding $131 million more in bipartisan infrastructure investments to support the Alaska Marine Highway System’s operations and recapitalize portions of the fleet.

In January, Senator Murkowski announced $285 million in infrastructure funding to improve the reliability and service of Alaska’s ferry system—an announcement she marked as a “big fat deal” for Alaska and its ferry system which serves more than 30 communities across 3,500 miles of coastline.

“Today’s announcement by the FTA is another ‘big fat deal’ for the Alaskans who rely on our critical ferry system—this transformational funding will help address the system’s crumbling operations and ensure sustainable connections to rural communities,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “I grew up using the ferry system to get around Southeast, and I know how important the Alaska Marine Highway System is to so many Alaskan families. By supporting operations across the state and replacing the M/V Tustumena serving Southwest Alaska, we are helping connect coastal communities across the state. When leading negotiations of the bipartisan infrastructure law, I was focused on ensuring our Alaska Marine Highway System would be healthy and strong, and today’s announcement will help that vision succeed. I encourage the State to smartly take advantage of these investments—the future of the Alaska Marine Highway System depends on their efforts and contribution. We cannot miss this transformational opportunity.”

“The major awards announced today for the Alaska Marine Highway System are excellent news for Alaska’s coastal communities and the thousands of Alaskans who rely on the ferry system,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “The vast majority of Alaska’s communities have no connection to the road system, which means ports and ferries are as essential in our state as roads and bridges are in most other parts of the country. I commend Senator Murkowski for championing this ferry program in the bipartisan infrastructure law, which continues to bear fruit for Alaska. As a member of the Commerce and EPW Committees, I will continue to press for investments in Alaska’s ports and ferries, which are vital to the economic interests and well-being of Alaskans across Southeast, the Gulf, and the Aleutians.”

“It is great news to have more financial assistance from the Federal Government to facilitate the rejuvenation of the operations of the Alaska Marine Highway,” said State Senator Bert Stedman (R-Sitka). “I want to thank both Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan for their hard work in helping to stabilize the Marine Highway, and I look forward to working with the delegation to secure the necessary matching funding from the State.”

“These dollars are critical to rebuild our coastal infrastructure,” said State Senator Jesse Kiehl (D-Juneau). “Replacing ships and investing in crews builds a sustainable, more efficient ferry system for the next generation of Alaskans. This summer I reassured Sen. Murkowski and Sec. Buttigieg: ‘Alaska is investing this once-in-a-generation funding with an eye on the far horizon.’ We’re grateful for these targeted investments in the ferry system from our federal partners—and we’re putting them to wise use.”

“A huge thanks for the tireless, successful efforts put forward by Senators Murkowski and Sullivan on behalf of Alaska’s vitally important Marine Highway system,” said State Representative Dan Ortiz (NA-Southern Southeast Alaska). “These investments in the main cog of Coastal Alaska’s transportation infrastructure will strengthen the statewide economy and help assure continued access to vital goods and services for coastal Alaskans.”