Marine Highway should be funded

I hope the new legislature sees fit to keep the the Marine Highway System funded. Please, everyone, call your legislators and support our ferry system. It is an essential service, not a business with the goal of making money.

Sometimes you have to go into debt for important things to realize a benefit down the road, right? Even businesses get loans all the time in order stay alive, or to invest in their futures. We give businesses tax credit all the time, cut them slack, try to encourage them. But if something doesn’t make money, or God forbid, costs something, it goes on the scrap heap? 

Why not just rip  up sections of the Seward Highway to save money? Since when does a highway become a profit- making business? Shall we now charge people for driving on the roads so the state can save on maintenance? Or eliminate some roads altogether and take out a few bridges as well? Why not close a couple airports while we are at it?

How would folks in the new “island” of Homer feel if no more food could get trucked into Safeway, and you couldn’t make it to Anchorage for business or emergencies or shopping at Fred Meyer? (I actually remember those roadless days. And then lo and behold, in 1949, we were finally connected to the rest of the world. And Homer began to grow.)  

Since the early 1960s the Alaska Marine Highway has been just another  important  road, a lifeline to our bush communities, helping people there to thrive, economically and health wise. Let’s not be short sighted but look ahead for the long term good, and keep those infrastructures and agencies alive that keep Alaskans connected, healthy and safe, which includes the environment.

We are being asked to tighten our belts, cut the PFD checks, etc., etc., and I agree we should cut waste and streamline government where needed. Just don’t ask me to support throwing money at a gas pipeline that has a dubious future or any other schemes that require “investing “ in before a profit is realized. 

I’d rather invest  in keeping our infrastructure, which includes  the one-of-a-kind, indispensable and iconic  Alaska Marine Highway system. If we don’t, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. 

Mossy Kilcher