RE: Ketchikan Airport Ferry Service
By Chris J. Herby
August 14, 2021
I am writing as a follow up to my previous letter regarding our problems with access to our airport. I really hope that our Borough Assembly will realize the problem we have and begin the process of fixing it. After all, assembly members are elected to deal with these types of problems as well as do long range planning to hopefully avoid similar problems in the future.
I believe the short term fix is to budget a second airport ferry to operate during the busy summer months starting next summer. With reading recent reports about the trillion dollar infrastructure bill passed by congress, we may have a golden opportunity for a long term fix. If the enormous bill reaches final approval, there will be large amounts of money available for electric ferries. They will be targeted for short ferry routes. What better route for an electric ferry than our extremely short Tongass Narrows crossing to our airport. A new electric airport ferry could be constructed that could be larger and accommodate more passengers and vehicles thereby being able to handle the traffic with only one ferry running every 30 minutes. The ferry would be able to connect to power and re-charge all night every night. This seems like a perfect opportunity. Of course some infrastructure would have to be modified to accommodate a larger ferry and provide charging facilities. This could all be included in the federal funding. This whole process would certainly take several years to accomplish, but we should immediately begin exploring the possibility of this and try to be in the front of the line.
Afterall, our community was robbed of the Gravina Bridge money that had been appropriated for the bridge to our airport. This cutting edge electric airport ferry could quite possibly be constructed right here in Ketchikan as some previous ferries were.
I ask that our Borough Assembly start a discussion on this and consider appointing people to explore this unique golden opportunity. Being early is important!
Chris J. Herby
Received August 11, 2021 - Published August 14, 2021
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