"The loss of Seward as a ferry port of call will hurt the community and AMHS passengers throughout the Gulf of Alaska."
- Sen. Gary Stevens
(HOMER) - Following a request from Senate District R Senator Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak) and House District 35 Representative Paul Seaton, Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) officials have confirmed they will hold a public meeting in Seward on Monday, September 13, 2004 to discuss options for retaining state ferry service to the community. As part of the 1999 statewide transportation plan, AMHS is currently planning to discontinue ferry service to Seward next year.
"The loss of Seward as a ferry port of call will hurt the community and AMHS passengers throughout the Gulf of Alaska," Senator Stevens said. "It's vital that we find a way to keep this service going."
On August 7th, Stevens, Seaton and former Senator John Torgerson, now a special assistant with AMHS, met with Seward civic and business leaders, and community residents to discuss the current plans. As a result of that meeting, Senator Stevens and Representative Seaton asked Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Mike Barton to hold a meeting regarding the issue in the community, to reconsider the decision to drop Seward ferry service, to consider an economic impact study for the community of Seward along with a review of more recent Seward ferry statistics, and to consider requesting marketing funds from the state or from AMHS to promote the Seward to Kodiak and Homer route as a tourist destination.
"The upcoming meeting presents the Seward community with a great opportunity to demonstrate to the department the significance of ferry service to the region," Representative Seaton commented. "I encourage anybody with questions, comments and concerns to join Senator Stevens and I for this meeting."
Joining Senator Stevens and Representative Seaton for the Seward meeting will be AMHS Director Tom Briggs and former Senator Torgerson. The meeting will take place between 11 am and 1 pm at the K.M. Ray Auditorium.
(For more information, contact Lauren Radcliffe in Representative Seaton's office at 235-2921, or Doug Letch in Senator Stevens's office at 486-4925).
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"The upcoming meeting presents the Seward community with a great opportunity to demonstrate to the department the significance of ferry service to the region."