I remember riding on the Alaska state ferries when the service and food was often better than in the towns the ferries served. Because of this, when the road debate first started, I was solidly on the side of the ferries. But as I reflected about the changes on the ferries and what caused the changes, I realized that the ferry system I loved is gone forever.
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There are two major reasons. One is ever stronger unions. Unions dilute state sovereignty by transferring the loyalties of state ferry employees to the various unions to which they belong. The second reason is that Coast Guard regulations have increased because of international maritime treaties.
Under the Knowles administration fast ferries were tried as an alternative to double crews on each ferry but they have proven to be too fragile.
The bottom line, roads with more short ferry runs such as the one from Ketchikan to Prince of Whales Island will serve Alaska's future more efficiently.
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