EDITOR, Daily News:
This is my response to the Aug. 30, 2021 editorial in the Ketchikan Daily News. I got tired of biting my tongue. I think it’s time the editor took off the rose-colored glasses.
In regards to the Alaska state ferry system’s debacle, the following is my opinion. The problem with the system has been self-inflicted, with far too much politicization going back to at least the Knowles administration. the two “Alaska Class” ferries and the “Fast Ferries” were built to appease the “Capitol Move” people.
The “Fast Ferries” were built against the advice of many experts. A vessel that burns 600 gallons of fuel per hour doesn’t pencil out with passenger fares, unless the price of fuel was 10 cents per gallon.
What I have not seen reported is why the need for crew quarters on the Hubbard and Tazlina. The truth is the vessels were designed to run daily round trips between Juneau and Haines, again to appease the “Capitol Move” people. The problem is the vessels wouldn’t achieve design speed and consequently couldn’t make the roud trip in a 12-hour shift.
As far as the editor’s opinion that the crew quarter additions be performed in Ketchikan in the interest of our local economy: The next time there is substantial activity at the shipyard — keep an eye out for the white passenger vans with Michigan license plates driving around that seem to skirt Alaska’s DMV law.
Also, because the state tax assessor deems the property tax exemption “voluntary” on the shipyard, every property owner in the borough is subsidizing the shipyard through education funding.
Former Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly member