The Matanuska Susitna Borough has until September 5 to repay more than 12 million dollars in federal grants related to the ferryboat “Sustina.”
The white elephant of a ferry that the Borough has been trying to sell or give away remains tied to a Ketchikan dock, while the Borough Assembly wrestles with what to do about the money owed to the Federal Transportation Administration.
Matanuska Susitna Borough Assemblymembers met Thursday afternoon to reconvene an executive session regarding legal action on the ferry. No word on the outcome of that meeting yet, but deputy Borough Mayor Ron Arvin said in a recent interview:
“And it is a travesty that those individuals that concocted this scheme back in the day, did it with blinders on,” Arvin says. “They had no fundamental comprehension that a ferry system would run at a cost. They were living under a dream, or an delusion, that a ferry system could run and support itself. And there is not one in the world that does that, they are all subsidized.”
Two weeks ago, the Borough received a letter from the Federal Transportation Administration, demanding repayment of the federal grant money that the Borough received to prepare the ferry for passenger service across Knik Arm from Port MacKenzie to Anchorage. That plan never materialized.