Replacing Ferry is Board’s Top Priority

The chairman of the Marine Transportation Advisory Board says replacing the troubled Tustumena ferry is the board’s top priority.

Chairman Bob Venables of Sitka said at a recent board meeting that the Tustumena is important to the transportation infrastructure of Western Alaska. The Tustumena was out of commission for nearly a year. It returned to service last month, six months later than expected.

The Alaska Journal of Commerce reports that the Alaska Marine Highway System has contracted with a Seattle marine engineering firm to help with the process of replacing the vessel.

The system’s general manager, Capt. John Falvey, said the cost will likely be several hundred million dollars. He said the state’s Vessel Replacement Fund has enough money to complete pre-construction work.