March 27, 2008
The ferry poll results were announced at Southeast Conference's Mid-Session Summit in Juneau today.
"The Alaska Marine Highway system is an integral part of our Alaskan transportation network. With more coastline than all other states put together, our ferry system is a critical travel mode," said Representative Beth Kerttula of Juneau.
"These poll results show widespread and deep support throughout the state and across the political spectrum for funding the ferry system and a common sense approach to the transportation systems of Southeast Alaska," said Gregory Vickrey, Director of the Tongass Conservation Society
"Alaska's ferry system is important to the state's military personnel," stated Cathy Spence, Relocation Specialist for Fort Richardson near Anchorage. "Ferries allow military personnel to relocate with their vehicles and personal items at any time of year and provide military members with a "once in a lifetime" view of Alaska's coastal communities and surrounding scenery."
To put ferry costs into context, poll respondents were given the latest Alaska Department of Transportation figures on annual ferry and road costs before the poll question. The poll, conducted by Hays Research Group (www.haysresearch.com), was taken on March 10-12.
The wording of the ferry poll question and the response summary follow:
Poll Question: The state's ferry system requires approximately $70 million per year from the state to balance revenues and operating costs, plus needed upgrades will cost approximately $60 million each year through 2030. The state plans to spend around $1.05 billion each year through 2030 on roads, or eight times as much annually as it will spend on ferries. Do you think the state should continue providing ferry service to 30 communities in Southeast, Southwest, and Southcentral Alaska?
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