Gov. Bill Walker says the state ferry system needs more money to avoid “crippling cuts” during the next fiscal year.
Walker released a new operating budget Tuesday after the legislature adjourned Monday without fully funding state government.
His new spending plan for the special session adds $7 million for ferries. That’s less than half the amount lawmakers cut before adjourning.
Jeremy Woodrow is an Alaska Marine Highway System spokesman.
“We aren’t sure exactly where that service will be improved in the system. That’s something that the department will still need to review and evaluate before we can give a definite answer,” he says.
The House and Senate could still take the new ferry money out of the budget — or shrink the increase.
Any cuts will reduce sailings during the next fiscal year, which begins in July.
Woodrow says officials will notify ticket-holders of cancellations and other changes once the budget is done.
“When we do know a final schedule and we can guarantee that we’ve maximized that service with the budget that we’re given, we will put an announcement out and we will inform passengers what our process is, moving forward,” he says.
Woodrow says ticket-holders will be rescheduled in the order they made reservations.
Other spending increases proposed in the governor’s new budget include schools, Medicaid, the university system and domestic violence programs.