First Things First Alaska Foundation pans Marine Highway's winter schedule

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The First Things First Alaska Foundation is critical of the proposed winter schedule for the Alaska Marine Highway System issued by the State Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

    Executive Director Don Habeger  said on Action Line that what he was really curious about is how that affects northern Southeast and the region's smaller communities.

    "For example, if somebody wants to move out of one of our smaller northern communities, Tenakee Springs, Angoon, or they want to go to school here in the Fall and catch that winter semester, there is no connection to Bellingham in October and November."

    So he wondered how do they do that.  "Well, they could go up the highway or through Juneau and up to Skagway and then drive down, but again that's dependent on whether we actually get the borders open as they say we're going to.  So it becomes a real problem for those who want to move about our region or connect with the Lower 48.  And so we're concerned about that."

    Habeger says the organization is interested in developing a transportation plan for Southeast Alaska that utilizes a combination of shorter ferry runs and road connections.

    Board member Frank Bergstrom made this point.  "We really need as a region to look at ways to not just simply depend on the old, but to think outside the box and create new."


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