DOT briefs legislative panel on proposed ferries

Posted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

JUNEAU - A state Department of Transportation official says a new "Alaska Class" ferry could be in service in three years if funding is approved.

Deputy Commissioner Jim Beedle told a legislative panel Tuesday that the first new vessel would be a day boat designed to serve Juneau, Haines and Skagway. More than 80 percent of ferry passengers and vehicles in Lynn Canal travel between those three cities.

Gov. Sean Parnell is requesting $60 million from the Alaska Marine Highway Vessel Replacement Fund to pay for a new ferry. The federal government would match that with another $60 million.

Beedle says day boats are cheaper to operate than the larger vessel now on the route.

He says a new Alaska Class ferry could be in service in three years.

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