Rupert Delegation Lobbying for Continued Connections

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Prince Rupert leaders are in Juneau this week to lobby for continued connections with Southeast Alaska.

Budget cuts threaten to reduce state ferry sailings to and from the British Columbia port city. And policy differences have blocked construction of a new ferry terminal there.

Rupert Mayor Lee Brain says the marine highway link helps economies on both sides of the border.

“We see Prince Rupert as Canada’s gateway to Alaska,” he said. “This is the quickest way to get to Alaska. Most people don’t want to drive through the Yukon up to Alaska. So, we see this as a very important economic and partnership opportunity to continue on with this link.”

The Rupert delegation is meeting with Gov. Bill Walker and the House and Senate Transportation Committees.

The Prince Rupert mayor says Southeast Alaska should also pay attention to major construction projects planned for his city. They include container port expansion and plans for up to six liquefied natural gas plants.

“We don’t see it as just as a Prince Rupert opportunity. We see it as an opportunity for Alaska as well. That there might be an opportunity for trade and commerce and increased tourism.”

Brain spoke Tuesday at the Southeast Conference Mid-Session Summit.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.