Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Transportation Rob Carpenter said the marine highway operating budget has increased by $8 million despite a veto of funds by Governor Mike Dunleavy.
The legislature approved $67 million for the ferry system. The governor last week vetoed $13 million.
Carpenter said the additional money will provide fewer gaps in service. "There should be five vessels running next winter. It is a healthier budget than the budget in 2020. This year was a disaster due to breakdowns and the strike we had."
There will be a need to overhaul each vessel at some point during the winter. Each overhaul takes about eight weeks.
The governor also vetoed $17 million to add crew quarters to one of the Alaska Class Ferries.
The budget did include $4 million to overhaul the Aurora.
The CARES Act is expected to provide almost $29 million for Alaska transit systems. This does not include any system that serves Anchorage or Fairbanks.
The ADOT continues to push for crew quarters in some vessels like the Hubbard because it makes them more versatile and able to handle more routes.
Carpenter said he can not confirm that additional funds will come to Alaska from another stimulus package in Congress that is expected to focus on infrastructure needs.