The Alaska Ferry system has been much criticized for being slow, costly and of value more for tourists than residents. Spartan boats without kitchens and staterooms would be cheaper to keep in business, yet they don’t much exist on S.E. routes. The ferry service to the road system from isolated Alexander Archipelago locations has been interrupted and is nearly stopped as far as Prince Rupert goes.
There are three basic regions of ferry service in Alaska that presently work plus Prince Rupert. Some day there may be a boat on Alaska’s east and north coast or the Yukon, yet not for now. It is a mistake to regard the three regions as just one system; for each have different weather, water, time and demographic needs.
There is a value in government providing certain transportation corridors in areas with ecosystem conservation requisites in order to forestall crass, destructive, invasive road construction detrimental to the cohesion of life on Earth.
Wouldn’t a no frills ferry working between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan be a more efficient water service that would be affordable to the state? With twice weekly service on a boat without staterooms or food service with a ferry marshal aboard paid for by Canadian and U.S. Governments passengers and goods could resume a normal flow. Maybe a private inter-island ferry to Angoon from Wrangell or Petersburg could be given some kind of subsidy to make the trip to connect with the Alaska Marine highway service to Wrangell or Petersburg and Juneau. Some kind of coordination should exist between governments to connect private boats with government routes around the North Pacific coast. Certainly there are lots of opportunities for all kinds of travelers and operators.
If the ferry system doesn’t work for bring cars and cargo to S.E. Alaska people will start looking for the Bradfield Road project to resume that would let Canadians and others drive to Wrangell Alaska that would become the new Prince Rupert- and that would be an environmental disaster. I encourage government designers of efficient public works to look for creation of a very fast and cheap boat to let goods and electric cars travel from Prince Rupert to Wrangell. The fast cheap spartan boat should have electric charging for electric cars aboard, and S.E. Alaska communities should also establish EV charging stations or outlets for travelers with sensible electric cars.