A look at the numbers

Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2004

The state released on March 8 an 11-page report used in the decision to move state ferry headquarters from Juneau to Ketchikan. The $3,750 study was conducted by Washington-based consulting firm Pacific Marine Technical Services. Some Alaska Marine Highway System employees and state officials have questioned the validity of numbers presented in the report. Here's a look at the report and opponents' comments:

Report's numbers

• The state would save $561,725 over 10 years in reduced rent by moving ferry offices to Ketchikan.

Critics' comments

• The report does not consider the rate of inflation that could affect the property value, according to a Division of Legislative Audit official. It also does not consider the cost of the vacant office space in Juneau or costs of removing asbestos tiling and the possible presence of toxic mold in the Ketchikan building.

Report's numbers

• The state could save $240,000 annually by using facilities, services and personnel in Ketchikan. The number is based on 5 percent of $4.875 million the author said the ferry system spent in 2003 on costs associated with the winter lay-up and overhaul of ships in the fleet.

Critics' comments

• An internal document recently prepared by marine highway staff says that the number is closer to $4.5 million and that the report does not offer a clear explanation as to how the savings would be achieved.

Report's numbers

• An internal ferry system analysis concluded that travel-related savings could be about $39,000 annually.

Critics' comments

• AMHS employees say that the internal analysis cited in the paper has not been released and that the majority of travel by senior staff was paid for with federal funds.


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