Fast ferry scheme may qualify as gross mismanagement

Posted: Friday, April 23, 2010

About a week or so ago, the Empire ran a front-page story that stated that the State of Alaska is suing the manufacturer of the fast ferries for propulsion problems associated with the fast ferries. The same article acknowledged that the fast ferries have had other numerous operational problems. Since this story came out, I have talked to lots of people in Juneau, and we all seem to have the same question, and that has to do with the direction the state's attorneys are headed. From what we recall, the Knowles administration decided on the fast ferry scheme as their alternative to the Juneau access issue, which was contrary to the determination the Alaska Department of Transportation had made for access to Juneau.

Prior to the governor's announcement, the Alaska DOT had made the determination that the road was the most feasible alternative for access to Juneau. Also, prior to the governor's announcement, it was made known that British Columbia was scrapping all of their fast ferries because of operational and cost issues. They just didn't work.

It seems to us, and we're sure that a lot of other Alaskans feel the same way, that if the state is looking at suing anyone over these fast ferries, it probably should be looking at former Gov. Knowles, his green chief of staff and his boat guy. Certainly the state's attorneys should be able to come up with a case of something like gross mismanagement or, maybe, an issue of an agenda contrary to the interest of the people of Alaska. For the amount of money involved, our legislators should be demanding an inquiry or hearing on the matter.

The opponents of the access road to Juneau had tabled the argument of the cost of the road. We're curious to know how these people feel about the hundred million or so that was dumped down the toilet on these fast ferries.

Edwin Johnson

Juneau



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