I have been trying to plan travel south this winter and have been frustrated beyond all reason. The winter ferry schedule, which supposedly begins Oct. 1, is still not available and reportedly won't be released until perhaps Sept. 15. And although I'd love to blame it on Robin Taylor, it's not his fault.
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According to Alaska Marine Highway System staff, the draft winter schedule has been prepared since June but is being held up due to "budget concerns" by the governor's office. Commissioner Barton explained to me, "Ferries are expensive." Well, I guess so, especially if they run empty because nobody bothers to release the winter schedule on time so ordinary people can make travel reservations. So here we sit, in the richest state in the Union, with the Alaska Permanent Fund worth billions, with record oil prices, with last year's record budget surplus mostly spent, and with a state government unable to publish a routine winter ferry schedule on time.
Well, maybe if I had a corporate jet for my personal travel, I wouldn't worry about ferry service either.