Historic funding to help marine highway operations, vessel acquisitions and coastal infrastructure
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both Republicans from Alaska, today announced that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will award more than $285 million in investments to improve the reliability and service of the ferry system Alaska, serving more than 30 communities along 3,500 kilometers of coastline. The funds, all awarded to the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS), are intended to replace an aging vessel, improve ferry port infrastructure in rural communities, modernize four vessels, purchase an electric ferry, design a new main vessel and generate sustainable energy. operations. This historic funding was made possible thanks to HR 3684, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), in which Senator Murkowski played a leading role in drafting and negotiating Alaska. These awards are the first of IIJA’s newly established Rural Community Ferry Service Program and Low Emissions or Electric Ferry Pilot Program. Additional grant funds from these programs will be available to AMHS in fiscal years 2024, 2025, and 2026.
“Having grown up in coastal communities that depend on the Alaska Marine Highway System, I have always understood the importance of Alaska’s ferry system. That’s why it was one of my top priorities when I helped write the bipartisan infrastructure bill, one of the most important legislative efforts I’ve worked on during my time in the Senate. I am proud to have led this historic investment to upgrade our aging ferry fleet and hopefully restore connections to all of our coastal communities, specifically through the Rural Communities Ferry Service program I created with rural Alaska in mind.” said Senator Murkowski. “Thanks to the infrastructure bill, the state will receive more than a quarter of a billion dollars to ensure that this vital mode of transportation can continue. Whether it’s modernizing existing vessels, improving dock infrastructure in rural communities, or investing in sustainable transportation, I’m confident the State will take advantage of these grant opportunities for the betterment of Alaskans.”
“The vast majority of Alaskan communities have no connection to the highway system, making ports and ferries just as essential as roads and highways, and a critical area of responsibility for the federal government.” said Senator Sullivan. “The funding awards announced today are great news for the thousands of Alaskans who depend on the ferry system, which serves a huge stretch of coastline, roughly the distance between St. Louis and San Francisco. These funds will help provide a safer and more reliable mode of transportation by upgrading existing AMHS vessels, ultimately purchasing a replacement for the Tustumena, and repairing deteriorating port infrastructure. I commend Senator Murkowski for her work ensuring that Alaska’s ferry system was a priority in the Jobs and Infrastructure Investment Act of 2021. Through my seat on the Commerce and EPW Committees, I will continue to fight to strengthen the Alaskan ports and ferries, which are vital to the economic interests and well-being of Alaskans in the Southeast, Gulf, and Aleutians.”
Financing details: (More than $285 million will be awarded to six Alaska Marine Highway System projects.)
- $72 Million for Modernization of Four AMHS Critical Vessels Necessary for Service and Environmental Benefits.
Total project cost: $90,081,932
Federal Application: $72,065,546
State Funded Match: $18,016,386
Announced Award: $72,065,545
- $68 million to replace the M/V Tustumena vessel serving rural Southwest Alaska.
Total project cost: $85,610,480
Federal Application: $68,488,384
State Funded Match: $17,122,096
Announced Prize: $68,488,384.00
- $45 million for critical improvements to ferry dock infrastructure in five rural Alaskan communities.
Total project cost: $56,848,018
Federal Application: $45,478,414
State Funded Match: $11,369,604
Announced prize: $45,483,214.00
- $46 million to cultivate a systems approach to sustainable transportation by implementing climate-sensitive shuttle options.
Total project cost: $57,767,509
Federal Application: $46,214,008
State Funded Match: $11,553,502
Announced Award: $46,214,008
- $8 million to anticipate future service and replacement needs by designing a new Alaska Mainliner.
Total project cost: $10,739,520
Federal Application: $8,591,616
State Funded Match: $2,147,904
Announced Award: $8,591,616
- $44 million to restore AMHS health to sustainable operations in rural communities.
Total project cost: $89,647,600
Federal Application: $44,823,800
State Funded Match: $44,823,800
Announced Award: $44,823,800
As the lead author of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Senator Murkowski included several programs that will benefit Alaska for generations to come, including:
In July 2022, Senator Murkowski announced the availability of historic funding of $300 million for shuttles. To date, Alaska has received more than $3 billion and counting as a result of the IIJA.
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