AMHS

Nancy Heise

On Monday, the Alaska Marine Highway System released its ferry schedule. The M/V Tustumena will be sailing five times this summer between Homer and Unalaska. 

City Manager Erin Reinders said that Unalaska has identified support for the state's ferry system as a key legislative priority and of the upmost importance to the community.

Hope McKenney/KUCB

 

Hundreds of people rallied around the state Tuesday to restore the Alaska Marine Highway System's regional ferry service. The fleet has been largely idle since the last mainliner in service broke down last month.

In Juneau, state and tribal leaders told 200 people gathered around the Capitol steps that for smaller coastal communities, regular ferry connections are a matter of survival.

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Following budget cuts to the Alaska Marine Highway System, Unalaskans are anxious to see how many ferry sailings will be available this summer.

The state's draft schedule shows four trips for the M/V Tustumena along the southwest route — far fewer than the eight to 10 scheduled in recent years.

Berett Wilber/KUCB

Unalaska needs to be ready to fight for state funding in fiscal year 2021.

City lobbyist Dianne Blumer delivered that message Tuesday to the City Council.

She said she expects Gov. Mike Dunleavy to continue pushing for steep budget cuts to education, health care, and other state services that are critical to the community.

"It's not a promising picture," said Blumer. "I hate to be the gloom and doom here, but I anticipate the cuts that didn't happen this year are going to be taken up again for next session."

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Continued ferry service and shared fisheries taxes.

These are some of the new lobbying priorities under consideration as the Unalaska City Council prepares for meetings next month with its state and federal lobbyists.

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