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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Return of Prince Rupert Ferry Run

By Prince Rupert Mayor Mayor Lee Brain and Rep. Dan Ortiz


June 30, 2022

This past month, the Alaska Department of Transportation reinstated the Prince Rupert Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) route. Rep. Dan Ortiz of Ketchikan and Mayor Lee Brain of Prince Rupert are jointly writing this letter to illustrate our supportive working relationship on the issue of reinstating this route for over the past two years. Rep. Dan Ortiz had the opportunity to ride “inaugural return voyage” of the AMHS to Prince Rupert to meet with officials there, including Mayor Brain.

The relationship between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan is an important one as they are sister cities. Officials from Prince Rupert come to Southeast Alaska roughly 3 times per year to discuss transboundary, transportation, and economic issues.

The ferry route connecting Prince Rupert and Ketchikan brings strong economic benefits to both Prince Rupert and the communities of Southern Southeast Alaska. It is the fastest way to connect Southern Southeast with the road system, and therefore is helpful in shipping goods. According to the McKinley Research Group (formerly known as the McDowell Group), seafood companies rely on this port connection to ship fresh seafood. During a time when freight costs have increased substantially, it is wonderful to have this route option available again.

The Prince Rupert run is ideal for longer-term visitors to Alaska. Economic data indicates that folks who visit Alaska via the AMHS spend significantly more money in our communities than the average cruise ship passenger, bringing economic benefits to both Southeast Alaska and British Columbia. This route also helps new-to-town movers, particularly members of the Coast Guard, as they navigate transporting their belongings in and out of Southeast Alaska.

Lastly, it is our long-term residents’ vital connection to the road system. Prior to the pandemic, Prince Rupert saw a relatively high number of passengers via AMHS – over 7,000 per year. We are thankful that we can travel this tried-and-true route once again.

The AMHS’s return to Prince Rupert is one of the first steps in ensuring that the ferry system is a major component in the transportation infrastructure needed to rebuild the economies of coastal communities. As we move forward on that journey, there is potential for future economic opportunities via this link as Prince Rupert’s port grows – and one improvement would be getting more regular “user friendly” scheduled stops to and from Prince Rupert.

We are very thankful to all the people working for the different government agencies who had a role to play in restoring the Ketchikan to Prince Rupert AMHS run. It was not a simple task, and it included some significant roadblocks and complexities. The persistence and commitment shown by the different parties involved is greatly appreciated.

Rep. Dan Ortiz
Ketchikan, Alaska

Lee Brain, Mayor of Prince Rupert




Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Opinions expressed are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Sitnews.

Received June 24, 2022 - Published June 30,2022

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