For years, I have encouraged friends and family to ride the Marine Highway System, when time permits, up the Inside Passage. It's a spectacular trip. We have two relatives making this trip over the summer at our suggestion. They are traveling without a vehicle. Their cost from Bellingham to Juneau, round trip, with a two-berth cabin, is $1,946. The round-trip fare for one is $632 dollars without a state room. That is more than twice what you would pay for a round-trip airfare to Seattle on the midnight special. You must keep in mind that this trip is being subsidized by the state, as the actual cost is closer to $4,000 if you consider the $40-some million that the Legislature has to appropriate each year to keep the system afloat. One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the ferry system is not the answer for the general public in Southeast Alaska. We can't afford to ride it. Since 1998, there have been more ferry runs in Upper Lynn Canal, yet the ridership is down. The answer is not better ferry service. I strongly support Alternative 2 in the Supplemental Draft EIS. Shorter ferry runs will provide better service at a much lower cost to the traveling public.
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