To the editor:

Andrew Wellner’s article in the Sept. 25, 2012, edition of the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman states that the three options under discussion by the Mat-Su Borough Assembly are: move M/V Susitna into storage in Washington state; sell it; and give it away.

The best way to sell it for the lowest possible price would be to mothball it far away in another state where its marvelous Arctic ice-breaking ferryboat capabilities could not be showcased.

And, of course, no buyer will make “any kind of credible offer” after hearing Assemblymen Steve Colligan and Warren Keogh say, “the ship needs to go on federal surplus registry” to be given away for nothing. “F” in sales goes to this duo.

I suggest we operate M/V Susitna as a ferryboat until it is sold to show off its usefulness and capabilities as an Arctic ice-breaking ferryboat in winter in Cook Inlet. This amazing ship can load and unload at a boat launch ramp or even a naked beach! Prospective buyers will then offer millions more dollars than our costs in maintenance and mooring. Since it would serve Anchorage too as a ferry, costs should be split with Anchorage municipality.

By not spending the money to showcase the M/V Susitna properly as an operational advanced Arctic ferryboat, the Mat-Su Borough will loose millions more than it is trying to save. This is not to mention millions more dollars lost in unrealized commercial development, tax base enhancement, etc. that ferry service would stimulate. And, the borough will loose a $4.5 million Port Terminal care of Federal Transit Authority by this shortsightedness.

Daniel Russell


(4) comments


onermailliw- You did not answer my question. Don't we lose $4.5 million that Federal Transit Authority has provided to the borough for building the terminal? We have had many many years, while this wonderful ferryboat was being built and while we knew we would be receiving it to get proper permitting in place. Now we should rush to permit and build. Yes, we must now eat storage fees, as a punishment for our lack of planning and foresight. But, it will be much cheaper to store it here as soon as possible. Operating the M/V Susitna ferry will enhance our quality of life, and it will bring a much higher offerring price for this magnificent ship, should we still decide to sell it. Ferry service may also allow commercial development of Tyonek, Hope, and Fire Island and other un-forseen advances. So, let's save the M/V susitna Arctic ferryboat for the benefit of all.

By the time the assembly actually secure proper permitting to build this, and this is just on one side on Knik Arm, we will have spent over 1/2 million in storage fees. beaching a craft like this to use as a landing craft usually reqires prep work witha dozer. Would have to rent the dozer as most contrators don't like using a dozer constantly near salt water. They like to rust at a high rate . More money down the drain as The bridge just makes alot more sense.


Onermailliw and Assembly: Why not build port moorings & boarding ramp with the $4.5 million that has been provided for construction of a ferry terminal from the Federal Transit Authority? Otherwise, the borough will loose this money. Right?
In the meantime M/V Susitna is designed to enable it to load and off-load on a boat ramp or beach (for showcasing), until a proper terminal is completed.
Anyway, let us not be so quick to throw away such a valuable gift, and such a great opportunity for development of our borough, and for stimulating our local economy.

Daniel- apparently you have been missing most of the saga that is the M/V Susitna. There are no ferry terminals at either end for the ferry to go to. THAT is the problem. I suggested to try to lease it to Shell as a spill reponse vessel or sell it on E-Bay. But our assembly wants to wash their hands of it so fast, you could probably go in and offer $1 for it and they would take it. It would be nice to use it and showcase it's potential, but there is no showroom floor to put it.

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