Legislature(2019 - 2020)CORDOVA

07/27/2019 01:30 PM TRANSPORTATION

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Audio Topic
01:32:33 PM Start
01:33:56 PM Alaska Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule
04:55:56 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Rescheduled from Friday 7/26/19 --
Location: Cordova Center, Rooms A & B
+ Alaska Marine Highway System's Draft Winter TELECONFERENCED
Schedule - Cordova Community Testimony
-- Public Testimony - In Room Only --
-- Teleconference Listen Only --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                        Cordova, Alaska                                                                                         
                         July 27, 2019                                                                                          
                           1:32 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Adam Wool, Co-Chair                                                                                              
Representative Matt Claman (via teleconference)                                                                                 
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
Representative Sara Rasmussen                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Sara Hannan (via teleconference)                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALASKA MARINE HIGHWAY SYSTEM'S DRAFT WINTER SCHEDULE                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CLAY KOPLIN, Mayor                                                                                                              
City of Cordova                                                                                                                 
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited testimony regarding the                                                                 
Alaska Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DARREL OLSEN, Chairman/President                                                                                                
Native Village of Eyak                                                                                                          
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited testimony regarding the                                                                 
Alaska Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
GARY GRAHAM                                                                                                                     
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TARA CRAIG                                                                                                                      
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KATRINA  HOFFMAN,  CEO,  Prince   William  Sound  Science  Center                                                               
Executive Director, Oil Spill Recovery Institute                                                                                
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DAVID ALLISON                                                                                                                   
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TOM CARPENTER                                                                                                                   
Copper River Seafoods                                                                                                           
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CATHY RENFELDT, Executive Director                                                                                              
Cordova Chamber of Commerce                                                                                                     
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
GREG MEYER, Co-Owner                                                                                                            
Reluctant Fisherman Inn                                                                                                         
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SYLVIA LANGE                                                                                                                    
Alaska Marine Highway System Reform Initiative (AMHSRI)                                                                         
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHELSEA HAISMAN, Executive Director                                                                                             
Cordova District Fishermen United (CDFU)                                                                                        
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA GARLAND ANDERSEN                                                                                                        
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TOM ANDERSEN                                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SHARON MCCALVY                                                                                                                  
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHARLOTTE CARROLL                                                                                                               
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
BARB JEWELL, Chair/President                                                                                                    
School Board                                                                                                                    
Cordova City School District                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ANNE SCHAEFER                                                                                                                   
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
AMY O'NEIL HOUCK                                                                                                                
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA DODGE                                                                                                                   
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
LILA KOPLIN                                                                                                                     
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MARK FROHNAPFEL                                                                                                                 
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HANNAH SANDERS, MD, Medical Director                                                                                            
Cordova Community Medical Center                                                                                                
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PENELOPE OSWALT                                                                                                                 
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ROBIN IRVING                                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TAMARA MARTIN                                                                                                                   
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KRISTY ANDREW, Director, Budget and Finance                                                                                     
Cordova City School District                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KARL BECKER                                                                                                                     
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHELSEA CORRAO, Music Teacher                                                                                                   
Cordova City School District                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DICK SHELLHORN                                                                                                                  
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TONI BOCCI                                                                                                                      
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MICHELLE KOCAN, LAc, Owner                                                                                                      
Acupuncture & Wellness of Cordova                                                                                               
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CARL BURTON, Sr.                                                                                                                
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
NICOLE SONGER, Director                                                                                                         
Cordova Family Resource Center                                                                                                  
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TAMMY ALTERMOTT, Board Member                                                                                                   
School Board                                                                                                                    
Cordova City School District                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM DEATON, Student                                                                                                         
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ROB CAMPBELL                                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CAITLIN MCKINSTRY                                                                                                               
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
WENDY RANNEY, Co-Owner                                                                                                          
Orca Adventure Lodge                                                                                                            
Owner, Whale's Tail Caf?                                                                                                        
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
LAUREN BIEN, Education Director                                                                                                 
Prince William Sound Science Center                                                                                             
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JACQI KINSMAN, Student                                                                                                          
Copper River Stewardship Program                                                                                                
Prince William Sound Science Center                                                                                             
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
GRACE COLLINS, Student                                                                                                          
Copper River Stewardship Program                                                                                                
Prince William Sound Science Center                                                                                             
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
BRADEN BECKETT, Student                                                                                                         
Copper River Stewardship Program                                                                                                
Prince William Sound Science Center                                                                                             
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ANGELO NORFLEET                                                                                                                 
Cordova Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CINDY APPLETON                                                                                                                  
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KATE WILLIAMS, Principal                                                                                                        
Cordova Jr./Sr. High School                                                                                                     
Cordova City School District                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
GAYLE RANNEY                                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SHAWNA WILLIAMS-BUCHANAN                                                                                                        
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PETER HEPTERER                                                                                                                  
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MAYA RUSSIN, Student                                                                                                            
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PETE MICKELSON                                                                                                                  
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MELINA MEYER                                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JOAN JACKSON                                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MICHELLE HAHN                                                                                                                   
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JOSIAH KELLY                                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KELLEY WEAVERLING                                                                                                               
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KATHRYN KELLY                                                                                                                   
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
BECKY CHAPEK                                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KORY BLAKE                                                                                                                      
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHARITY SCHANDEL                                                                                                                
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  testimony  regarding the  Alaska                                                             
Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:32:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR LOUISE  STUTES called the House  Transportation Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   1:32  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Drummond, Claman,  Wool, and Stutes  were present at the  call to                                                               
order.  Representative Hannan was also present.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
^Alaska Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule                                                                           
      Alaska Marine Highway System's Draft Winter Schedule                                                                  
                                                                                                                              
1:33:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STUTES began  the hearing  regarding the  Alaska Marine                                                               
Highways  System's  (AMHS) draft  winter  schedule.   She  stated                                                               
there  are  many  similarities  between  Alaska's  small  coastal                                                               
communities, and  one thing they  all share is the  dependency on                                                               
ferry service for  health, safety, and economic  prosperity.  The                                                               
Department  of   Transportation  &  Public   Facilities  (DOT&PF)                                                               
released its [draft]  winter ferry schedule about  two weeks ago.                                                               
Unless   this  [draft]   schedule   is   changed,  many   smaller                                                               
communities  will be  left without  any ferry  service from  fall                                                               
until  spring.   Cordova is  slated to  be without  a ferry  from                                                               
October  1,  [2019],  through  April  30,  [2020].    Yakutat  is                                                               
scheduled for  no ferry service  for seven months and  Kodiak and                                                               
Seldovia will  be without a  ferry from January 12  through April                                                               
30, [2020].   This  is totally  and completely  unacceptable, she                                                               
maintained.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STUTES  announced that  a few  days ago,  with unanimous                                                               
support from [the  legislature's] majority, she was  able to pass                                                               
an  amendment that  added back  $5 million  to the  Alaska Marine                                                               
Highway's vessel operations.  She  said the [draft] schedule does                                                               
not reflect  the additional  funds and she  is hopeful  that more                                                               
funding will be restored in the future.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:35:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STUTES said that aside  from trying to secure additional                                                               
funding, there is room in  the schedule to make smarter decisions                                                               
with  routes, layups,  and overhauls,  as well  as to  adjust the                                                               
schedule  based  on   need  and  gaps  in   service  rather  than                                                               
profitability.    She  explained  that  the  purpose  of  today's                                                               
meeting  is to  hear directly  from a  smaller coastal  community                                                               
with no  road access  that has  a very long  gap in  its service.                                                               
Something  with this  large of  an impact  on transportation  and                                                               
access  in coastal  Alaska necessitates  coverage from  the House                                                               
Transportation  Standing Committee.    A  teleconference will  be                                                               
held by  DOT&PF on  7/29/19 to take  public comment  and consider                                                               
adjustment of the winter schedule.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STUTES  noted the committee  was only able to  travel to                                                               
one  location  given  the special  session's  limited  time,  and                                                               
Cordova is an  apt choice as one of the  hardest hit communities.                                                               
She  offered her  hope  that Cordova's  testimony  will serve  to                                                               
inform DOT&PF  of exactly  how a three-  to seven-month  gap will                                                               
affect the  smaller communities.   She  recognized there  will be                                                               
gaps in service  throughout the state.  Southeast  Alaska will be                                                               
down a  mainliner and face  service gaps from October  1, [2019],                                                               
through April 30,  [2020].  Southwest Alaska,  which includes the                                                               
ports  of Kodiak,  Tatitlek,  Old Harbor,  King  Cove, Cold  Bay,                                                               
Akutan, False  Pass, Unalaska, Valdez,  Whittier, and  many more,                                                               
will  be  without  service  from January  12  through  April  30,                                                               
[2020].  The northern panhandle will  face a brief service gap in                                                               
November [2019] and  then again from January 15  through March 1,                                                               
[2020].   She advised that  copies of the [draft]  ferry schedule                                                               
and DOT&PF's press release are available to the audience.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:37:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STUTES  addressed the  ferry strike  currently underway.                                                               
She said it  isn't the place of legislators  to insert themselves                                                               
into contract or strike situations.   However, for the record she                                                               
urged for the administration and  the Inlandboatmen's Union (IBU)                                                               
to return  to the  negotiating table  immediately to  resume good                                                               
faith negotiation on behalf of  the many individuals, businesses,                                                               
and communities  that are deeply  impacted by the strike.   While                                                               
not taking  a side,  she pointed out  the staggering  effect that                                                               
this  is having  on the  Alaska Marine  Highway's budget  and its                                                               
riders and shippers.   As of last evening, the  AMHS has canceled                                                               
bookings on 4,006 passengers and  1,268 vehicles and has refunded                                                               
$2,119,738 in fares.   Plus, hundreds of  passengers and vehicles                                                               
are  stranded  throughout  the  state.   This  strike  is  eating                                                               
quickly through any  benefit that the $5 million  restored to the                                                               
budget will have.  As a  ferry user, concerned Alaskan, and state                                                               
representative of coastal  districts, she is asking  for a return                                                               
to the negotiating table to work this out.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STUTES invited committee members to provide comments.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:39:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL noted  that testimony was heard  from other coastal                                                               
communities during one  of the committee's meetings  a few months                                                               
ago.  The many hours of  inspiring and passionate testimony had a                                                               
big effect  on him, and he  presumes today will be  no different.                                                               
It is  important for  the public  to be heard,  he said,  and the                                                               
committee is  in Cordova to listen  and take messages back.   The                                                               
hearing  of a  few  months  ago was  prior  to  this new  [draft]                                                               
schedule with massive alterations in scheduling.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND related that  legislators have heard from                                                               
thousands of  Alaskans since the  governor made budget  vetoes in                                                               
late June.   She surmised  that legislators will be  hearing from                                                               
thousands more Alaskans until this is wrapped up.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN,  via teleconference, apologized  for being                                                               
unable to be in Cordova.  He  said he echoes the comments made by                                                               
the co-chairs and Representative Drummond.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:41:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STUTES noted  that listening  online  is Mike  Lesmann,                                                               
Special   Assistant,  Department   of  Transportation   &  Public                                                               
Facilities  (DOT&PF).   She  said  Mr.  Lesmann is  listening  to                                                               
everything that  witnesses have  to say and  will be  passing the                                                               
public's  message to  his  superiors.   She  recognized that  the                                                               
Cordova  community is  passionate  about its  marine highway  but                                                               
urged  witnesses  to be  constructive  in  their comments.    She                                                               
advised  that the  public could  submit written  testimony.   She                                                               
opened invited testimony.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:43:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CLAY KOPLIN, Mayor, City of  Cordova, provided invited testimony.                                                               
He said Cordova is a resilient  community.  After the copper mine                                                               
and the  railroad were  closed in 1938,  Cordova bounced  back as                                                               
the razor  clam capital of the  world.  After the  clam beds were                                                               
uplifted  eight  feet  and  destroyed  in  the  1964  earthquake,                                                               
Cordova pioneered  and innovated  the quality market  for salmon.                                                               
After the  fisheries of the  Copper River salmon  juggernaut were                                                               
wiped out by the Exxon Valdez  oil spill in 1989, Cordova bounced                                                               
back by  using the  Copper River runs,  the Prince  William Sound                                                               
hatchery system, and  the small fisheries that  the community had                                                               
been working  on with Representative  Stutes.  Cordova has  had a                                                               
growing economy and its $100  million economy for 2,300 people is                                                               
of national significance.   Seafood is now in the  top five trade                                                               
and balances  in the U.S.   The U.S.  imports over 90  percent of                                                               
its seafood, $15  billion worth, and there is no  reason the U.S.                                                               
shouldn't be more sustainable in  that regard.  Alaska, with two-                                                               
thirds of the U.S. coastline, is  a national player.  This is not                                                               
about  health, education,  and welfare.   Socioeconomics  is very                                                               
important, it is critical.  He  said [no ferry service] is a very                                                               
poor business decision.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:45:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR KOPLIN explained  it is no accident that  Cordova relies on                                                               
the Alaska  Marine Highway System  (AMHS).  He said  Cordova went                                                               
through  a detailed  internal planning  process  as a  community,                                                               
asking whether  the community wanted  a road, railroad,  or ferry                                                               
system as  its primary transportation  link.  It turned  out that                                                               
what Cordova  wanted, and what  worked and was  most economically                                                               
feasible, is the  ferry system.  The ferry system  is an economic                                                               
driver for this  community, even right down to  this building and                                                               
this  facility which  has  hosted  international conferences  and                                                               
U.S. Senate  hearings.   The number of  seats in  this building's                                                               
theater matches the  number of seats on the M/V  Chenega, a ferry                                                               
that can get  two-thirds of the state's population in  and out of                                                               
Cordova.    Cordova  built its  business  models,  its  community                                                               
model, its residents'  lives and social models,  around the AMHS.                                                               
Cordova  understands budget  cuts  and reducing  service, but  to                                                               
take a  punch in the face  and have the service  eliminated gives                                                               
the community no time to adjust or modify.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR KOPLIN  related that during  his seven years on  the Marine                                                               
Transportation  Advisory  Board,  the most  important  thing  was                                                               
continuity of  service.  He said  it is much better  to have very                                                               
limited but very consistent service  than it is to have fantastic                                                               
routes and service  one year and then no service.   It has killed                                                               
the businesses time  and time again and it has  developed so much                                                               
mistrust for the  system that now businesses are  afraid to guide                                                               
passengers and business to the system.   It is one of the reasons                                                               
that the revenue  has dropped.  Mayor Koplin added  that he isn't                                                               
worried about Cordova,  Cordova will adapt and bounce  back.  But                                                               
he is  worried about  what making these  kinds of  decisions will                                                               
mean for Anchorage and other communities in the state.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:47:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR KOPLIN  said he  will keep  his comments  high level  as he                                                               
presumes  the  committee  has  received  statistics  about  where                                                               
fishermen  live and  the  traffic  in and  out  of  Cordova.   He                                                               
recounted that  Cordova passed a  community bond to  renovate its                                                               
50-year-old elementary  school and relies  on the state  to match                                                               
that.   That  bond matching  is Cordova's  biggest single  cut in                                                               
this budget.  Cordova will make  that up, but what bothers him is                                                               
that Cordova had a business  partnership - the community paid for                                                               
part of  that and the  state paid for part  of it.   If Cordova's                                                               
bond rating  is taken  down with  the state's,  and if  the state                                                               
shows  bad   faith  on  business   relationships  with   its  own                                                               
communities, how  can businesses  outside the  state trust  to do                                                               
business with the  state?  Good business models  and good working                                                               
relationships are needed  internally if Alaska is to  be open for                                                               
business.   While that cut  hurts, Mayor Koplin continued,  it is                                                               
different  than the  ferry.   The  ferry is  Cordova's road,  its                                                               
economic driver.   Cordova has  been growing its economy  and its                                                               
population,  and  the state  has  been  sharing in  that  revenue                                                               
growth.  Cuts to the Alaska  Marine Highway System will turn that                                                               
around and put Cordova back into decline.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR  KOPLIN then  spoke as  a  local business  manager [CEO  of                                                               
Cordova  Electric Cooperative]  and  described  the impacts  that                                                               
eliminated  ferry service  has on  the cooperative.   He  related                                                               
that  the  cooperative  had one  of  its  hydroelectric  turbines                                                               
rebuilt in a shop in north  Kenai.  The marine highway system was                                                               
used to cost-effectively  ship the turbine there  and have Alaska                                                               
machinists  rebuild   it.    The  cooperative   sends  its  large                                                               
generators to Anchorage to be  rewound and has done business with                                                               
the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and  Fairbanks.  The cooperative has                                                               
spent tens  of millions  of dollars  to have  Alaskan contractors                                                               
build its hydroelectric projects.   Also, the cooperative has had                                                               
Seattle  and Oregon  based contractors  get tens  of millions  of                                                               
dollars to build its hydroelectric  projects.  Cordova's ferry is                                                               
really  the tale  of two  cities.   If  Cordova has  a ferry  the                                                               
cooperative's  business happens  in  Alaska,  if Cordova  doesn't                                                               
have a  ferry that business  happens in Seattle.   Businesses are                                                               
tired of switching,  he advised.  He is afraid  for the state and                                                               
other  communities because  if  this service  is  taken away  and                                                               
business is lost to Seattle, it may not come back.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:50:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR  KOPLIN  suggested  that there  be  continuity  of  service                                                               
through the winter with a base  of at least twice a month service                                                               
roundtrip.  He  explained this would keep  Cordova's supply lines                                                               
open  and allow  the community  and businesses  with box  vans to                                                               
travel  back and  forth.   He noted  he has  years of  experience                                                               
working on ferry issues through  his service on the city council,                                                               
as president of the Cordova Chamber  of Commerce, and as a member                                                               
of the  Marine Transportation  Advisory Board.   He  advised that                                                               
every  time  the  decision  making  gets  pushed  closer  to  the                                                               
communities  and closer  to the  service,  the revenues  improve.                                                               
[The marine  highway's] very  expensive infrastructure  is driven                                                               
by labor cost,  fuel cost, and expensive equipment,  so the fixed                                                               
expenses are high no matter what.   However, AMHS does have a lot                                                               
of influence  over the  revenues.   When good  routes are  put in                                                               
place that  the communities want,  people are going to  use those                                                               
routes and it is  going to drive a lot of  revenue.  When Cordova                                                               
got  those very  stable three  years, and  businesses and  people                                                               
started trusting those, revenues went  up about 30 percent a year                                                               
for  each of  those three  years with  the fast  ferry.   Through                                                               
cooperative  marketing, Cordova  has spent  tens of  thousands of                                                               
dollars out of its festivals'  budgets, partnering with Anchorage                                                               
media  stations, and  putting  up prizes.    Cordova tripled  and                                                               
quadrupled every  dollar that  the state  put into  marketing the                                                               
marine highway  system; no  overhead to the  state and  the state                                                               
doesn't  have to  staff it  or  anything.   Mayor Koplin  further                                                               
advised that if they had a  voice, marine highway system staff in                                                               
the  terminals and  on the  decks and  behind the  wheels of  the                                                               
vessels  could tell  about driving  revenues and  building models                                                               
that will improve the system.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR KOPLIN  reiterated that  it is  punch in  the face  to just                                                               
eliminate service.   He said  AMHS could come to  communities and                                                               
work with them  on how to make this better,  and AMHS could check                                                               
with the  people who  use the  system and who  run the  system as                                                               
they can help AMHS make revenue.   Several years ago, Cordova was                                                               
told that to keep service it  had to increase revenues 30 percent                                                               
and Cordova did it.  Cordova  found ways to get more ridership on                                                               
the ferry, but Cordova had a say in the schedule.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR KOPLIN stated that for  the long term the governor's budget                                                               
must be  fixed.   The Alaska  Marine Highway  System cannot  be a                                                               
budget balancing  tool.  It is  a service.  Imagine  charging for                                                               
education  in  this  state?    Having the  system  as  a  revenue                                                               
generating service  is ridiculous.     It is a  base economy just                                                               
like energy.   The ferry matters to Cordova.   If asked, nine out                                                               
of ten Cordovans  on the street would tell you  that their single                                                               
biggest concern this session is the marine highway system.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:53:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL recalled Mayor Koplin  mentioning the connection of                                                               
the marine  highway system  to other  parts of  Alaska.   He said                                                               
coming  to  coastal  communities  and  being  in  Juneau  exposes                                                               
legislators  to coastal  communities.    Legislators realize  the                                                               
connection and more people should  realize the connection between                                                               
the ferries  and Anchorage, the Matanuska-Valley,  Fairbanks, and                                                               
other places.   It is important to communities as  well as to the                                                               
whole state, as alluded to by Mayor Koplin's economic comments.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KOPLIN  responded  that  the   2016  McDowell  Group  report                                                               
captured that.   He anecdotally estimated that  the AMHS probably                                                               
generates about $10 million of  business in Cordova's businesses,                                                               
and probably $20  million in Anchorage.   Anchorage benefits more                                                               
than  Cordova,  it  is  just  that   it  is  a  smaller  part  of                                                               
Anchorage's economy.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:54:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DARREL  OLSEN,   Chairman/President,  Native  Village   of  Eyak,                                                               
provided invited  testimony.  He  stated that the  Native Village                                                               
of  Eyak  supports  the  Alaska   Marine  Highway  System,  which                                                               
provides essential  service to more  than 35  coastal communities                                                               
in Alaska,  including Cordova.  These  essential services include                                                               
transportation  for   medical  service,  grocery   shopping,  job                                                               
opportunities, school  education and  extracurricular activities,                                                               
tourism,   vacation,  cultural   activities,   and  the   fishing                                                               
industry.    The Anchorage  economy  also  benefits from  coastal                                                               
residents spending money on  purchases, meals, entertainment, and                                                               
lodging while away from home.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. OLSEN said  that in addition to the drastic  reduction in air                                                               
and  cargo service  experienced  by Cordova,  large gaps  without                                                               
ferry  service  are  detrimental  to the  many  families  already                                                               
struggling with  the high  cost of  living in  rural Alaska.   It                                                               
also makes  it hard for  Cordova's local U.S. Coast  Guard marine                                                               
and air  station to justify  bringing in and keeping  families in                                                               
Cordova.  Their presence in  the Cordova community is critical to                                                               
the area's commercial  fishing grounds as well as  to many sports                                                               
and  leisure activities  on or  around Cordova's  waterways.   He                                                               
advised that a  shutdown of the marine highway  system would have                                                               
devastating and unavoidable impacts on the community it serves.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:56:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. OLSEN  said the  Native Village of  Eyak suggests  an option,                                                               
which is  to operate the M/V  Aurora four days a  week with three                                                               
days  off.   The  M/V Aurora  would need  to  get two  regulatory                                                               
extensions  to   continue  operations,  during  which   time  the                                                               
Hubbard's side  doors are installed  and the  minor modifications                                                               
are made to the Whittier  terminal.  (Indisc.   audio difficulty)                                                               
the Hubbard with  the same crew and schedule for  the rest of the                                                               
winter service primarily  in Cordova and Whittier as  a day boat.                                                               
He  urged  that  DOT&PF  reconsider   the  proposed  funding  and                                                               
schedule cuts  to Cordova's ferry service  and consider alternate                                                               
solutions for Prince William Sound.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. OLSEN,  on a personal note,  pointed out that this  is really                                                               
going to  affect Cordova and its  young people.  He  related that                                                               
he has  three young  people who  live with  him, all  between the                                                               
ages of 18 and  21.  One of them opened a  business last year and                                                               
this will  really affect  her business.   He further  pointed out                                                               
that  it also  affects school-age  kids, but  that the  people of                                                               
Cordova are affected across the board.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:58:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STUTES  opened  public   testimony.    She  asked  that                                                               
witnesses explain how  they and their community  will be impacted                                                               
and  how  this   draft  schedule  affects  real   people  in  the                                                               
communities when  DOT&PF officials  are sitting in  their offices                                                               
determining the ferry schedules.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:59:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GARY GRAHAM testified he is a 41-year resident of Cordova and                                                                   
during these years Cordova has had ferry service.  He spoke as                                                                  
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     My  wife  Libby  and  I are  local  restaurant  owners.                                                                    
     We've  been  open  daily  for  37  years  and  frequent                                                                    
     travelers  on the  Alaska Marine  Highway  System.   We                                                                    
     depend on the ferry to  resupply our business.  Several                                                                    
     years  ago,  we invested  in  a  14-foot box  truck  to                                                                    
     travel to  Anchorage for supplies.   When  the Whittier                                                                    
     tunnel  opened  to  vehicle  traffic  it  was  a  great                                                                    
     improvement  in  our   access  and  supports  Anchorage                                                                    
     businesses  rather than  us shipping  from Seattle  and                                                                    
     the Lower  48 direct to Cordova.   This unconscionable,                                                                    
     arbitrary,   no    notice-or-public-input   seven-month                                                                    
     removal  of ferry  service will  be devastating  to our                                                                    
     community  and  our  business.     When  we  travel  to                                                                    
     Anchorage  on supply  runs, we  spend money  on hotels,                                                                    
     restaurants,   fuel,    and   many    other   Anchorage                                                                    
     businesses.  The  money we spend stays in  the state of                                                                    
     Alaska.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     We  are  now  in  the process  of  scrambling  to  find                                                                    
     another   source   for  resupplying   our   restaurant.                                                                    
     Placing orders  over the phone  and shipping  via barge                                                                    
     always leaves  us short  of supplies  that were  out of                                                                    
     stock and we  are not notified were out  of stock until                                                                    
     the shipment  arrives.  Meats  and frozen  supplies are                                                                    
     okay to  phone order and  ship, but [not] dry  goods at                                                                    
     Costco and  other vendors to  be picked up  and lowered                                                                    
     by hand.  To just advise  us at the last minute, "oh by                                                                    
                                                           st                                                                   
     the  way you  will not  have a  ferry  from October  1                                                                     
                      th                                                                                                        
     through  April 30   this  winter,"  is  as I  mentioned                                                                    
     before unconscionable.   There are many  other sensible                                                                    
     cuts  to the  state government  that can  be made  that                                                                    
     will  provide additional  funding  for necessary  state                                                                    
     infrastructure.   There are many  elders and  others in                                                                    
     this community  who rely on  the ferry for  health care                                                                    
     appointments.   Alaska  Airlines provides  air service,                                                                    
     but  their prices  are very  high for  a 140-mile  trip                                                                    
     that is already federally  subsidized.  In other words,                                                                    
     we love them, but we just can't afford them.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:01:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I have  said for the last  15 or 20 years  that Cordova                                                                    
     does  not  need  daily  or near  daily  ferry  service.                                                                    
     Before the arrival  of the fast ferries  we were served                                                                    
     by the Bartlett between Cordova  and Valdez a couple of                                                                    
     times per week.   The Tustumena included Prince William                                                                    
     Sound   on  an   approximate  10-day   turnaround  that                                                                    
     included  Seward,  Homer,  Kodiak,  and  Dutch  Harbor.                                                                    
     Access to Seward  was convenient at the  time for those                                                                    
     who did not  want to make the  hazardous six-hour drive                                                                    
     between Valdez  and Anchorage.  Several  Cordovans were                                                                    
     killed on this road ... in the winter.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     I also have a suggestion  of a remedy for this problem.                                                                    
     Either the  Tustumena or the Kennicott  could make runs                                                                    
     that  include  Cordova,  Whittier, Homer,  and  Kodiak.                                                                    
     Back-to-back trips  between Cordova and  Whittier would                                                                    
     be needed to allow people  to do business and return to                                                                    
     and  from Anchorage  without being  stuck  there for  a                                                                    
     week or more.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     We are totally in favor  of cutting state spending, but                                                                    
     not at the  cost of our livelihoods and  lives.  Please                                                                    
     be reasonable  about this situation.   The trickle-down                                                                    
     effect  of  this action  will  be  devastating for  the                                                                    
     State  of  Alaska ...  and  for  the City  of  Cordova.                                                                    
     There are  many other reasons to  resist this decision,                                                                    
     but  time constraints  don't allow  me to  mention them                                                                    
     all.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:04:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TARA CRAIG stated she has been  a Cordova resident for six years.                                                               
Regarding how seven  months of no ferry service  will affect her,                                                               
she explained that she and her  family use the ferry system to go                                                               
to Anchorage for appointments, to  stock up, and to visit family,                                                               
which is  what many  Cordova folks do.   Many  Cordova businesses                                                               
depend  on  the  ferry  system  to  bring  in  supplies  for  the                                                               
businesses, so no service will affect them and the community.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. CRAIG  said she cannot help  but wonder if the  current ferry                                                               
system  strike  will  help   DOT&PF,  legislators,  and  Governor                                                               
Dunleavy see how  vital the ferry system is to  Cordova and other                                                               
communities.   She would  rather give up  her dividend  to ensure                                                               
that the people  will have services like the ferry  system and so                                                               
people won't lose  their jobs.  So many vital  services are going                                                               
to  be  cut   by  Governor  Dunleavy's  vetoes  -   the  cost  of                                                               
electricity  in Cordova  will go  up and  education will  suffer,                                                               
along with so much else.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:06:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATRINA  HOFFMAN,  CEO,  Prince  William  Sound  Science  Center;                                                               
executive director, Oil Spill  Recovery Institute, testified that                                                               
since their inception her organizations  have generated over $110                                                               
million in  revenue for the State  of Alaska.  She  said this was                                                               
done  because of  access to  a marine  highway that  allows large                                                               
pieces of equipment  to be brought to and from  Cordova and other                                                               
communities to support the  organizations' research and education                                                               
operations.   She  currently has  a crew,  a 12-passenger  van, a                                                               
vessel, and a trailer doing  sockeye salmon research in the upper                                                               
Copper River basin that she doesn't  know how she is going to get                                                               
home [due to the current ferry  worker strike].  If the equipment                                                               
is marooned outside of Cordova over  the winter, she will have to                                                               
pay exorbitant  storage fees, a  waste of a  nonprofit's precious                                                               
resources.   Today she had to  charter a private vessel  to bring                                                               
[the  science  centers]   stranded  campers  and  staff  back  to                                                               
Cordova from Valdez, at a cost  of 300-400 percent more than what                                                               
would have been paid for ferry tickets.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOFFMAN stressed  that the marine highway is  critical to the                                                               
operation of all  the businesses in the Cordova  community and to                                                               
the families.   Daily service  is not  needed to make  the system                                                               
work,  she continued,  but regular  roundtrip  access is  needed.                                                               
That access is  best served through Whittier, not  Valdez, due to                                                               
the  treacherous road  conditions  in winter  between Valdez  and                                                               
Anchorage.  For example, her  organization's minivan that is used                                                               
for many  business purposes  broke down earlier  this year.   The                                                               
local  mechanic couldn't  repair it  due to  proprietary computer                                                               
coding, so  the van had to  be taken to an  Anchorage dealership.                                                               
Without the  marine highway, Cordova's  road, she would  have had                                                               
to pay $3,000  to barge the van  to a dealer in  Seattle and then                                                               
another $3,000 to  barge it back to Cordova.   Because the van is                                                               
only worth  $6,000, she would have  had to junk it.   So, without                                                               
the marine  highway there  will be a  lot of  vehicle dereliction                                                               
because they cannot  be serviced.  She requested  DOT&PF to think                                                               
about these  sorts of things  when considering  regular roundtrip                                                               
access on  the marine highway  between the communities  of Prince                                                               
William Sound and the rest of the state.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:10:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID ALLISON testified he is a  37-year resident of Cordova.  He                                                               
noted  that while  he currently  sits  on the  city council,  his                                                               
comments today  are his own.   He said  two of his  five children                                                               
have graduated  from the  Cordova school system.   The  three who                                                               
are  currently in  the school  system will  be affected,  as will                                                               
everyone in Cordova and every aspect of Cordova.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. ALLISON shared that his kidneys  do not work, so he does home                                                               
hemodialysis in Cordova.  He  must see his nephrologist and other                                                               
doctors on a  regular basis.  If he was  in Anchorage his doctors                                                               
would see  him every month,  but since  he lives in  Cordova, his                                                               
monthly  visits   alternate  between   going  to   Anchorage  and                                                               
teleconference  visits.   He  is  on a  fixed  income  and it  is                                                               
everything he  can do to  save enough  money every two  months to                                                               
afford  taking his  truck  on  the ferry  and  going  to all  his                                                               
appointments.   It would  cost him  twice as much  to fly  and he                                                               
doesn't know  where that money would  come from, but he  would be                                                               
forced to  fly to stay alive.   In addition to  every other month                                                               
in  Anchorage,  other  occasional   medical  issues  happen  that                                                               
require him to  go to Anchorage for care, such  as lung issues or                                                               
problems with his dialysis  equipment.  Medically, transportation                                                               
is important for him to stay alive.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ALLISON added  that transportation  is important  to Cordova                                                               
residents economically  and socially.   He offered his  hope that                                                               
DOT&PF can  work on the  schedule and provide Cordova  with ferry                                                               
service  this  winter  and that  legislators  are  successful  in                                                               
getting more funding.  He offered  his further hope that the rest                                                               
of the  legislature and  the administration  will hear  about the                                                               
needs of Cordova's residents.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:13:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM  CARPENTER, Copper  River Seafoods,  stated that  the current                                                               
ferry shutdown  is having a  big impact  on his business  and the                                                               
long-term schedule  in and  out of Cordova  is the  lifeblood for                                                               
operating his company's seafood business  in Cordova.  He related                                                               
that in  the early  1990s when fish  prices were  very depressed,                                                               
Copper River Seafoods  was created to try to bring  more value to                                                               
its  product, for  itself as  well as  the fishermen.   Beginning                                                               
with the  company's planning  stages, ferry  service has  been an                                                               
integral  part of  how the  company transports  fresh seafood  to                                                               
Anchorage and  throughout the  U.S.  He  offered his  belief that                                                               
Copper  River Seafoods  is  the biggest  commercial  user of  the                                                               
ferry service in Prince William  Sound.  The company's service is                                                               
year-round,  so it  has trucks  on every  ferry from  about March                                                               
until about  October.   During the  winter Copper  River Seafoods                                                               
has   trucks  coming   down  regularly,   depending  on   various                                                               
maintenance projects and other things that are going on.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. CARPENTER  noted that during his  company's business planning                                                               
stages there were  meetings with the legislator,  DOT&PF, City of                                                               
Cordova, and City  of Whittier, to try to push  the idea forward.                                                               
Created  from three  or four  people, Copper  River Seafoods  now                                                               
annually  produces  10-20  million  pounds  of  seafood  just  in                                                               
Cordova.  The  company has 170 employees in  Cordova and hundreds                                                               
of  year-round employees  in  Anchorage.   All  of  them will  be                                                               
affected dramatically  by this seafood  not being able to  get to                                                               
Anchorage on the  ferry system in a timely manner  to support the                                                               
infrastructure that the company has in place there.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. CARPENTER urged  that consideration be given  to the promises                                                               
that  were made  years  ago  for businesses  like  his that  were                                                               
created to  try to provide  more value  to its fishermen  and its                                                               
customers.   If the ferry  continues not  to run, it  will affect                                                               
the price that his company can  pay the fishermen for their fish,                                                               
which ultimately affects  the City of Cordova's economy  in a big                                                               
way.   He urged that a  solution be figured out  to reinstate the                                                               
ferry  service because  it is  having  a dramatic  impact on  his                                                               
business as well as the businesses of many other people.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:16:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CATHY RENFELDT, Executive Director,  Cordova Chamber of Commerce,                                                               
stated  the chamber  is  comprised of  a  variety of  industries,                                                               
including lodging, transportation,  outfitting, retail, shipping,                                                               
seafood  harvesting,  seafood processing,  and  others.   As  the                                                               
voice of the Cordova business  community the chamber urges that a                                                               
more  fair  and  reasonable  winter schedule  be  considered  for                                                               
Prince William Sound.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  RENFELDT  related  that the  chamber  specifically  requests                                                               
twice per month  roundtrip service from Cordova  to Whittier with                                                               
potential  for stops  in Chenega,  Tatitlek,  and Valdez,  should                                                               
demand  and  special  events  warrant.   To  this  end,  she  has                                                               
provided the  committee co-chair with  a schedule of  Cordova and                                                               
Prince William  Sound events and  trainings.  She  suggested that                                                               
perhaps  the ferry  trips could  be structured  to coincide  with                                                               
these various events.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. RENFELDT stated that reliable  ferry service undoubtedly adds                                                               
to the  quality of life  for residents of communities.   However,                                                               
from the standpoint  of the Cordova Chamber of Commerce,  it is a                                                               
vitally  needed  economic  engine.   The  Alaska  Marine  Highway                                                               
System is one of the vital,  essential ways in and out of Cordova                                                               
and a necessary shipping avenue  for Cordova's businesses and the                                                               
Copper  River salmon  fishery.   "This ferry  ... transports  our                                                               
livelihoods, it  is our connection to  the rest of the  world, it                                                               
is our  road," she  said.   Like all roads,  the AMHS  has costs,                                                               
just  like surface  highways require  money for  plowing, paving,                                                               
chip  sealing, safety  patrol, and  salting.   The Alaska  Marine                                                               
Highway is  not a cruise ship,  it is comparable to  a public bus                                                               
or  subway.   It is  a vessel  for commerce,  bringing people  to                                                               
workplaces and store fronts, moving supplies and merchandise.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:18:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. RENFELDT  said that  perhaps reform is  needed in  the Alaska                                                               
Marine Highway System.  She  noted that the Alaska Marine Highway                                                               
System Reform Initiative  has been working on this  for years and                                                               
has submitted  proposals that Co-Chair Stutes  has pushed forward                                                               
and supported.   She explained  that the speed and  abruptness of                                                               
this  change in  service gives  Cordova's businesses  no time  to                                                               
respond and  adjust business  plans tailored  to work  within the                                                               
AMHS  transportation  systems.   Several  businesses  in  Cordova                                                               
stock their  shelves almost entirely  by box truck  to Anchorage.                                                               
Will  Cordova residents  be looking  at empty  shelves from  this                                                               
point forward?  Or shelves full  of unaffordable stores?  How can                                                               
it be expected for the system  to get closer to paying for itself                                                               
out of the  fare box without a regular reliable  schedule?  Local                                                               
businesses  must work  a little  harder  to get  people to  their                                                               
establishments  in Cordova,  so  they  often include  information                                                               
about  how to  get  to Cordova  on their  websites  and in  their                                                               
marketing  and  outreach.   Even  before  the  strike,  Cordova's                                                               
businesses  had  begun  removing ferry  travel  information  from                                                               
these sources because they have lost trust in the system.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. RENFELDT  stressed that  the ferry system  needs to  work for                                                               
the people  who use it.   She urged  that the whole  system begin                                                               
considering  the testimony  of the  ridership.   The state  faces                                                               
many financial  challenges and  there is no  Alaskan who  has not                                                               
been impacted in  some way, but the cuts to  Prince William Sound                                                               
in  the  current  draft schedule  seem  disproportionately  large                                                               
compared to other regions.   She said she understands that DOT&PF                                                               
has been instructed  to focus more on  revenue generation instead                                                               
of service when making the  ferry schedule.  However, she pointed                                                               
out, if  DOT&PF were to look  at each Prince William  Sound route                                                               
separately,  it  would see  that  the  Cordova-Whittier route  is                                                               
routinely one of the most profitable routes in the system.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  RENFELDT noted  that when  the governor  released his  draft                                                               
budget with  a $68 million cut,  none of the scenarios  put forth                                                               
by  DOT&PF showed  this level  of service  disruption for  Prince                                                               
William Sound.   Although  a $44  million cut  in funding  to the                                                               
AMHS is still  significant, there are clearly  options to provide                                                               
some modicum of service for Prince William Sound communities.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:21:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GREG MEYER, Co-Owner, Reluctant Fisherman  Inn, noted he is a 40-                                                               
year resident of  Cordova.  He said he wears  many hats like most                                                               
Cordovans and  trying to figure out  which hat to wear  today was                                                               
difficult.   He  and  his  wife are  co-owners  of the  Reluctant                                                               
Fisherman  Inn,  a  50-room  hotel   with  restaurant  that  they                                                               
purchased in 2004.   He recounted that  when Commissioner Robbins                                                               
of DOT&PF  came to  Cordova in  2005 it was  well known  that the                                                               
commissioner wasn't  a big  fan of  the ferry  service.   The M/V                                                               
Chenega  was  being  built  and  the town  of  Cordova  was  very                                                               
optimistic.   When  Commissioner  Robbins was  asked  if the  M/V                                                               
Chenega  would be  kept the  commissioner replied  that [Cordova]                                                               
could  keep  its ferry  if  the  ridership  was increased  by  30                                                               
percent  from what  it  had been.   That  first  year, Mr.  Meyer                                                               
continued, the ridership for Cordova  was increased by 35 percent                                                               
and he is sure it has been increased more.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEYER stated  it is hard to create businesses  in small towns                                                               
and extremely  difficult to  keep them  operating for  year after                                                               
year.  When businesses enter  relationships with the state, which                                                               
is  thought  of as  a  partner  because  the state  is  providing                                                               
transportation  services,  there  are expectations  -  the  state                                                               
agrees to do  this and the businesses agree to  do that, and then                                                               
the state  breaks the  promises.  It  is extremely  difficult for                                                               
businesses to operate under those conditions.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:24:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEYER  noted it is  52 miles from  the ferry terminal  to the                                                               
end of the road and DOT&PF  spent a lot of money maintaining that                                                               
road.   Then  the bridge  washed out  at 36-mile,  so now  DOT&PF                                                               
maintains only 36 miles of road  for seven months of the year and                                                               
17 miles of  road during the winter.   The road is  paved only as                                                               
far  as the  airport,  after  which it  is  gravel  and not  much                                                               
maintenance.    So, he  asked,  since  DOT&PF is  already  saving                                                               
money, why not kick it towards the ferry?                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEYER  pointed out  that Cordova is  a fishing  community and                                                               
doesn't have  a lot of tourists,  but about 20-30 percent  of the                                                               
guests at his  inn are tourists.  While the  season is long, from                                                               
March to October, the Reluctant  Fisherman Inn doesn't break even                                                               
and turn  a profit until August,  and every business must  turn a                                                               
profit.  The  inn's breakeven season is August 20  to October 20,                                                               
when tourists drive  in using the ferry to go  hunting or fishing                                                               
while  staying  at  the  inn.     During  March  and  April,  the                                                               
commercial fisheries  are gearing up  for the traditional  May 15                                                               
Copper  River Flats  opening.   These  fisherman drive  vehicles,                                                               
trailers,  and  boats  [filled  with]  gear,  much  of  which  is                                                               
purchased in Anchorage.  Thus,  Mr. Meyer stressed, Cordova needs                                                               
consistent ferry  service from March through  October, not having                                                               
that service would be crippling.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MEYER  said  his  restaurant  business  spends  hundreds  of                                                               
thousands of dollars in Anchorage  annually.  Now, he is starting                                                               
to reconsider moving his business  purchasing to Seattle where it                                                               
is  cheaper to  buy and  the  freight costs  between Seattle  and                                                               
Cordova are  about the same  as from  Anchorage to Cordova.   His                                                               
business  has a  box truck  and saves  about four  times what  it                                                               
would cost  to freight on  the AML  [barge].  He  regularly takes                                                               
his truck to Anchorage, stays in  hotels, goes out to dinner, and                                                               
purchases hundreds  of thousands  of dollars  of goods,  and then                                                               
returns to Cordova.   This ferry service is vital  to the Cordova                                                               
community.    Electricity and  transportation  are  vital to  the                                                               
businesses  in  small  communities.   Cordova  has  some  of  the                                                               
highest electric  costs in the  state even with the  state's help                                                               
with  hydropower.   Transportation  is essential.   Without  that                                                               
ferry, Cordova will have to use AML  at four times the cost.  The                                                               
inn  is open  year-round but  will now  have to  stop doing  some                                                               
services between November 1 and May 1.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:28:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SYLVIA  LANGE, Alaska  Marine  Highway  System Reform  Initiative                                                               
(AMHSRI), stated  she is Alaska  Native.  She explained  she gets                                                               
very  emotional about  this issue  because it  is so  very vital.                                                               
She is Tlingit  and Aleut on her maternal  grandmother's side and                                                               
German and  Dane immigrants on  her paternal  grandfather's side.                                                               
She was  born and raised in  Cordova and she and  her husband own                                                               
hospitality  and  fisheries businesses.    They  have been  self-                                                               
employed their entire  lives and their three  grown children were                                                               
born and raised in Cordova.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. LANGE related  that Cordova has had  year-round ferry service                                                               
since  1966.   The  community  sits on  the  site  of the  Native                                                               
village  that  has  been  there   for  millennia,  and  that  was                                                               
incorporated  in 1909.   The  community  is a  microcosm of  what                                                               
Alaska  looks  like.   It  is  an important  resource  extraction                                                               
community.   Originally incorporated  to be  the terminus  of the                                                               
railroad that hauled copper from  the Kennicott Mine, Cordova has                                                               
maintained a  significant place as  a seafood processing  port in                                                               
the nation.   It is  a home rule city  and it has  maintained its                                                               
schools,  roads,  airport, sewer,  and  basic  utilities for  all                                                               
those hundred years.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LANGE said  the $3,000  permanent fund  dividend (PFD)  that                                                               
"seems to be  holding government by the short hairs"  was lost by                                                               
her two  weeks ago  when this new  ferry schedule  was announced.                                                               
To  continue  to  support  their  community,  Cordova  residents'                                                               
property and sales  taxes will likely increase  and will continue                                                               
to increase because these cuts also  mean that the burden will be                                                               
spread over fewer residents.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:30:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. LANGE  pointed out that the  ferry service is a  major public                                                               
service to Cordova.  However, she  said, the ferry system has not                                                               
operated  very systematically  for a  very  long time  now.   The                                                               
Alaska Marine Highway System was once  a real source of pride for                                                               
the state.   One would be  hard pressed to find  vision and plans                                                               
that  reached  ahead  without  going   back  perhaps  as  far  as                                                               
governors  Egan  and  Hickel.     The  system  has  been  managed                                                               
piecemeal from administration to  administration.  The only thing                                                               
that  resembles a  system has  been  its systematic  dismantling.                                                               
Stakeholders, customers,  and employees  of AMHS have  nowhere to                                                               
go to with  concerns, plans, ideas, and input.   It is completely                                                               
operated as  a top-down  system with the  top spot  the governor.                                                               
She  doesn't recall  any  of Alaska's  governors  running on  the                                                               
platform of being  an expert on running  a complex transportation                                                               
system, but  that is  what [Alaskans]  expect of  their governors                                                               
and legislators.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. LANGE stated that the public,  the end users and investors in                                                               
the system,  often are the  last to know  of current plans.   The                                                               
Alaska  Marine Highway  System  Reform  Initiative (AMHSRI),  she                                                               
explained, was two years of  in-depth work with stakeholders from                                                               
across the state, not just  the communities directly served.  The                                                               
initiative came  up with  a governance plan  that was  felt could                                                               
better  serve  the  complexities  of  the  modern  transportation                                                               
system; a place  where experts in the field  could make decisions                                                               
based on  a good business  model and somewhat insulated  from the                                                               
political process.   Ms. Lange  implored the committee to  take a                                                               
long,  hard look  at AMHSRI's  plan and  work with  the committee                                                               
looking into  the future.  It  would save the committee  a lot of                                                               
time  listening  about  service  lives  of  the  boats,  shipyard                                                               
schedules, employee strikes and  demands, and community protests.                                                               
A new governance model for  the AMHS would allow forward thinking                                                               
instead  of  crisis reaction.    She  thanked the  committee  for                                                               
reacting to the "very real present crisis."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:32:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHELSEA HAISMAN,  Executive Director, Cordova  District Fishermen                                                               
United (CDFU),  noted that  CDFU represents  the voice  of Prince                                                               
William Sound, Copper River, and  the Gulf of Alaska's commercial                                                               
fishermen.  She  said the proposed schedule  leaves the community                                                               
with an  unacceptable seven-month service gap,  which for Cordova                                                               
is tantamount  to a road  closure, and  is longer than  any other                                                               
region impacted by  Governor Dunleavy's budget cuts.   Impacts to                                                               
fishermen and fishing families are  numerous.  One impact is loss                                                               
of fishing  time as families  need to  cut their season  short to                                                               
catch the last ferry out.   Losing two weeks could mean thousands                                                               
of dollars out  of the pocket of individual  Alaskan families who                                                               
rely on this end-of-season boost  to cover winter living expenses                                                               
and,  when  multiplied,  considerably   more  out  of  the  state                                                               
economy.  Another  impact is the additional  expenses, ranging in                                                               
the thousands, to small businesses  that may now need to purchase                                                               
an extra  vehicle or trailer  to be able  to move their  boat and                                                               
gear between communities of residence and the fishing grounds.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAISMAN  continued outlining the  impacts to fishermen.   She                                                               
explained that access to regulatory  meetings is critical for the                                                               
fishing  industry and  participation  in  these important  public                                                               
processes  would  be  much  lower  if  commercial  fishermen  are                                                               
essentially cut  off from where the  conversations are happening.                                                               
Fishermen  need to  continue  to attend  Board  of Fisheries  and                                                               
North Pacific Fishery Management  Council meetings, often held in                                                               
Anchorage or Homer, to ensure  their voices are heard as Alaska's                                                               
sustainable  fisheries management  continues  to  evolve.   These                                                               
meetings are in October, December,  January, and March this year.                                                               
Ms.  Haisman  noted that  many  fishing  families are  unable  to                                                               
travel in the summer as they  work around the clock April through                                                               
October and  shoulder season fishermen  work February  and March.                                                               
These winter  months are the  time when  the ferry is  needed the                                                               
most.  There  would also be the impact of  access to medical care                                                               
and  carefully timed  maternity care,  stocking up  on groceries,                                                               
building  supplies for  home and  boat maintenance  projects, and                                                               
provisions for the winter.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAISMAN pointed  out that Alaskan fishermen  returning in the                                                               
spring may miss important maintenance  time if the ferry does not                                                               
run in  March and April.   This time  is essential to  ensuring a                                                               
safe fishing operation for the  season ahead and to ensuring that                                                               
vessels are  in the  most seaworthy condition.   She  invited the                                                               
committee to ask questions of  CDFU about commercial fishermen in                                                               
the region and their importance to the statewide economy.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:35:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA  GARLAND  ANDERSEN  testified   that  for  years  Cordova                                                               
residents  have been  trying to  keep their  ferry system  intact                                                               
while the people running Alaska's  government continue to pay big                                                               
oil  to extract  the  state's  oil, even  when  the  state is  in                                                               
crisis.   She  said [residents]  must make  their representatives                                                               
represent them and vote for the  best interest of the people, not                                                               
a [political] party.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:36:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM ANDERSEN stated he is  a retired commercial fisherman and has                                                               
been  living [in  Cordova] 76  years.   He said  he is  trying to                                                               
retire in  Cordova, but the cost  of living is probably  going to                                                               
go through  the roof  and make  it difficult.   He serves  on the                                                               
council of  the Native Village of  Eyak and his family  has lived                                                               
here forever.  This is going to make it very tough, he said.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:37:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHARON McCALVY testified  she has lived in Cordova  for 48 years.                                                               
The ferry  is important to  her as she relies  on it to  get back                                                               
and  forth to  Anchorage for  medical appointments  and her  kids                                                               
relied on it  when they were going to school.   Keeping the ferry                                                               
a couple  days a month would  be great, more would  be fantastic.                                                               
She  has a  son coming  to  Cordova next  week on  the ferry  and                                                               
chances are  he will have  to cancel  when he gets  to Anchorage.                                                               
She urged that Cordova be given its ferry.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:38:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHARLOTTE CARROLL stated  she was born in Cordova and  has been a                                                               
resident for  72 years.   She explained  that as  senior citizens                                                               
she  and her  husband use  the ferry  numerous times  a year  for                                                               
medical  appointments, to  go to  Anchorage for  car service  and                                                               
groceries, and  to visit her sister.   She lived in  Cordova when                                                               
the  town didn't  have ferry  service and  people were  unable to                                                               
travel easily  because there were  very few planes coming  in and                                                               
out.  She  said the ferries make a big  difference in Cordova and                                                               
urged that  at least  some ferry service  be provided  during the                                                               
winter for  those who really  depend on it.   She added  that she                                                               
and her husband  don't need a $3,000 permanent  fund dividend and                                                               
would be happy to have that used for the services of this state.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:39:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARB JEWELL,  Chair/President, School Board, Cordova  City School                                                               
District, testified  she would be  speaking as both the  chair of                                                               
the  School Board  as well  as  an individual  citizen living  in                                                               
Cordova.   Regarding  the  school,  she said  the  lack of  ferry                                                               
service for most  of the school year as  currently proposed, will                                                               
significantly decrease educational  opportunities for students as                                                               
well as  significantly increase cost  of delivery  of educational                                                               
services in  Cordova.  This will  have an impact on  every level.                                                               
The lack of ferry service  will mean lack of travel opportunities                                                               
for  students to  go to  sports competitions,  student government                                                               
conferences,  and the  National Ocean  Sciences Bowl  because the                                                               
[school district]  cannot afford to  fly them.  Most  high school                                                               
students   and  a   good   percentage   of  elementary   students                                                               
participate  in  activities that  require  travel.   [The  school                                                               
district]   cannot   use    mileage   because   Alaska   Airlines                                                               
understandably   only  allows   two   tickets   per  flight   for                                                               
organizations.   Alaska Airlines is adored,  but unaffordable for                                                               
student  travel.   In addition,  the  music regional  competition                                                               
that Cordova  was supposed to  host this next  year is now  up in                                                               
the air because of this.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. JEWELL  further pointed out  that the cost of  doing anything                                                               
for  school  will now  increase  -  the  cost of  getting  school                                                               
lunches and breakfast, the cost  for getting repair people to fix                                                               
school furnaces,  ovens, refrigerators,  and heating  system, the                                                               
cost of any kind of equipment  needed to run the school district,                                                               
such  as   fax  machines,  copiers,  computers,   and  parts  for                                                               
[equipment].  It  is unknown how the superintendent  will get the                                                               
bus  repaired.   At a  time  when ways  to decrease  the cost  of                                                               
education  are being  looked  at,  this seems  like  a very  poor                                                               
decision.   She urged  DOT&PF to revise  its schedule  to include                                                               
weekly  service to  Cordova roundtrip  in order  to maintain  the                                                               
level of education that is being  provided in Cordova.  She urged                                                               
legislators to  increase what  is being  invested in  the state's                                                               
infrastructure  and  the  marine  highway system  is  a  part  of                                                               
infrastructure.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:42:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  JEWELL said  this will  hurt  the school  districts and  the                                                               
students.  Families have already spoken  to her and she has heard                                                               
of others who are contemplating  whether they can keep their kids                                                               
in school in  Cordova.  Changing the proposed  schedule will make                                                               
a difference for this year as well as many years to come.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. JEWELL  spoke as  an individual.   She recalled  that Cordova                                                               
had almost  daily service  when she arrived  nine and  half years                                                               
ago.    She allowed  it  was  luxurious  and probably  not  quite                                                               
required.  But,  she advised, going to no service  means that her                                                               
family of four will be  spending between $20,000 and $30,000 less                                                               
in the  state of Alaska  than it does  when the ferry  service is                                                               
running.   She takes her  vehicle to Anchorage to  purchase large                                                               
amounts of goods  and services, to have things fixed,  or go to a                                                               
movie.   She is  now doing  some of those  things in  Seattle and                                                               
Portland because  she can't  get to Anchorage  often enough.   As                                                               
well, Amazon  is getting  way more  of her  money than  she would                                                               
like it to.   She said she prefers to spend  her money in Cordova                                                               
and Anchorage and the ferry system makes that possible.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:44:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNE SCHAEFER  stated that  she has lived  and worked  in Cordova                                                               
for five years.   She noted she  is a member of  the city council                                                               
but  is speaking  today on  her own  behalf to  voice her  strong                                                               
opposition  to the  $44  million  in cuts  to  the Alaska  Marine                                                               
Highway  System (AMHS)  and the  total loss  of ferry  service to                                                               
Cordova for eight months this winter.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHAEFER  pointed out that  the Alaska Marine  Highway System                                                               
truly is the  road that connects the remote  coastal community of                                                               
Cordova with the  rest of the state and the  rest of the country.                                                               
[Cordovans] depend  on the ferry to  buy and sell their  goods in                                                               
Anchorage, to travel for medical  appointments, to deliver babies                                                               
since that  cannot be done in  Cordova, to take pets  that cannot                                                               
fly to the  veterinarian, and to transport  students to academic,                                                               
athletic, and music opportunities across  the state.  Funding the                                                               
AMHS is an investment in Alaska.   Besides the 133 percent return                                                               
on investment  to the  state, the economic  impact study  done by                                                               
the  McDowell  Group   in  2016  found  that   the  residents  of                                                               
Anchorage,  Palmer, and  Wasilla were  among the  top five  ferry                                                               
user groups.   So,  this is  a service for  all Alaskans,  and it                                                               
makes economic sense to fund the AMHS.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHAEFER  stated that any  service is better than  no service                                                               
and  Cordova particularly  needs roundtrip  service to  Whittier.                                                               
She urged consideration of reducing  the permanent fund dividend,                                                               
explaining that a check for $3,000  will not make up for the loss                                                               
in  services and  increased costs  resulting from  loss of  ferry                                                               
service to the Cordova community.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:46:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AMY O'NEIL  HOUCK said she  heard a comment today  that resonated                                                               
with her,  which was that  those who  have the means  when crisis                                                               
like this happens can leave and  those who are left behind, those                                                               
on the margins, are those who are  going to suffer the most.  She                                                               
therefore  thinks  consideration should  be  given  to those  who                                                               
aren't  present  to  speak today,  perhaps  they  aren't  present                                                               
because they  must work today.   She urged for AMHS  managers and                                                               
the state to negotiate in good faith with the ferry workers.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:47:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA DODGE offered  her hope that there can  be some consensus                                                               
to get ferry  service to Cordova this winter.   She said a $3,000                                                               
permanent fund dividend  doesn't make any sense to  her and isn't                                                               
something she has ever felt  was important; it should be invested                                                               
back into Alaska.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:47:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LILA KOPLIN testified she is a  21-year resident of Cordova.  She                                                               
recounted that  a few  years ago  she bought a  car and  made the                                                               
purchase in Anchorage because she  wanted to do business close to                                                               
home and  in the state  of Alaska.  She  is required to  take the                                                               
vehicle to Anchorage at least once  a year for warranty work, but                                                               
if  she cannot  do that,  she will  look at  selling the  car and                                                               
taking her business to the Lower 48 to buy a car.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOPLIN  noted she works  for a  company in Anchorage  and she                                                               
travels across the state for her  work, Valdez being one of those                                                               
communities.  She  explained that it is much  more cost effective                                                               
for the  company and for her  when working in Valdez  to take the                                                               
ferry rather than  flying to Anchorage and then  either flying or                                                               
driving to  Valdez from Anchorage.   She is often required  to go                                                               
to Anchorage  for a week at  a time to  work and it is  much more                                                               
cost effective to take her own car rather than to rent one.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOPLIN suggested that the  state look again at increasing its                                                               
revenues, such  as a sales tax  or state income tax.   There have                                                               
been substantial  cuts over the years,  she noted, and it  is her                                                               
understanding  that more  large cuts  are slated  for next  year.                                                               
Now the state is to the  point that it is cutting vital services,                                                               
so perhaps increasing the revenues needs to be looked at.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:50:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK FROHNAPFEL stated  he is the terminal  manager for Shoreside                                                               
Petroleum in Cordova.   A retired member of the  U.S. Coast Guard                                                               
who has  been stationed  in Sitka, [Kodiak],  and Cordova,  he is                                                               
familiar with  the marine  highway and  the ability  to transport                                                               
service members to and from their  duty stations.  As the manager                                                               
of Shoreside Petroleum  he can assure the committee  that he uses                                                               
the marine  highway to transport  retail products back  and forth                                                               
from  the  company's  Anchorage  terminal  to  Cordova.    It  is                                                               
imperative to keep costs low and to  keep the cost of living at a                                                               
reasonable rate in a small coastal community like Cordova.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  FROHNAPFEL emphasized  that  the reduced  ferry schedule  as                                                               
proposed for 2019 and 2020 will  have a negative impact as far as                                                               
bringing goods to the Cordova community.   The goods will have to                                                               
be brought  from Seattle and will  have additional transportation                                                               
costs from shippers  in and out of Alaska.   He urged legislators                                                               
to  do  a  better job  in  getting  the  AMHS  to be  a  reliable                                                               
transportation service in and out of coastal communities.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:52:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HANNAH SANDERS,  MD, Medical Director, Cordova  Community Medical                                                               
Center, testified  she is  here today on  behalf of  patients who                                                               
have medical  conditions and disabilities  and cannot be  here to                                                               
have a  voice.  She  said she echoes  what the others  said about                                                               
the difficulty for  patients to access health  care and specialty                                                               
services, such as cardiology services,  that Cordova doesn't have                                                               
due  to its  isolation.    People on  the  road  system take  for                                                               
granted the easy access to  specialty health care.  Many patients                                                               
in Cordova  are unable to  be accommodated on flights  and depend                                                               
solely on  the ferry  system to  get to  Anchorage to  have their                                                               
health care needs  taken care of.  This change  in ferry schedule                                                               
completely isolates  them and  completely inhibits  their ability                                                               
to get attention and surgical services during that period.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:53:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PENELOPE  OSWALT stated  she is  a 42-year  resident of  Cordova.                                                               
She continued as follows:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The  Alaska  Marine Highway  is  part  of the  national                                                                    
     highway system,  designed as a  transportation corridor                                                                    
     for rural Alaska.  The  state receives federal funds to                                                                    
     ensure this  happens.   Our road  is no  less important                                                                    
     than any  other road  in Alaska.   Are funds  being cut                                                                    
     for  the  Glenn,  the  Sterling,  the  Richardson,  the                                                                    
     Seward highways?  Are they being deprived of service?                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     With  these tax  cuts and  poor long-term  planning, we                                                                    
     have  an eight-month  service  deficit.   The  schedule                                                                    
     posted  at the  ferry  terminal is  the  last ferry  is                                                                    
     December  12th and  the next  one  is May  12th.   This                                                                    
     means  some fishermen  will  lose up  to  two to  three                                                                    
     weeks of  fishing at the end  of the season and  one to                                                                    
     two weeks  at the beginning  of the next season.   This                                                                    
     will  have a  huge economic  impact on  the people  and                                                                    
     businesses in our community that rely on our fleet.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Although  my  child  is  grown,   she  used  the  ferry                                                                    
     regularly from  seventh to twelfth grade,  I can't even                                                                    
     tell you how much.   But our children will have limited                                                                    
     participation in  sports and educational  events around                                                                    
     the state.   Our access  to additional medical  care in                                                                    
     Anchorage, shopping  opportunities, military transport,                                                                    
     families  and   tourists  coming  to   visit,  business                                                                    
     travel.   My  family  and I  need  to schedule  medical                                                                    
     procedures in Anchorage throughout  the ... winter. ...                                                                    
     Airfare and car rental make  it cost prohibitive to fly                                                                    
     to each of these.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:55:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     This is our home,  we live here.  We want  to grow.  We                                                                    
     want our road.  But  the decisions being made this year                                                                    
     may  cause those  that want  to invest  in our  city to                                                                    
     question  if  this  is  where  they  want  to  start  a                                                                    
     business or choose to raise  their children.  Many have                                                                    
     worked diligently for several  years on the AMHS reform                                                                    
     plan  to  keep  our  marine highway  system  alive  and                                                                    
     sustainable.   With these proposed cuts  to the current                                                                    
     budget, Cordova,  Valdez, Whittier,  Chenega, Tatitlek,                                                                    
     and,  yes, Anchorage,  Mat-Su,  and  Fairbanks are  the                                                                    
     losers.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     We want you  as our legislators to help  keep our rural                                                                    
     communities economically  viable and  alive.   Take the                                                                    
     politics  out  of  our transportation  system  and  the                                                                    
     legislative decision planning.   Keep current and build                                                                    
     vessels   that   work    in   Prince   William   Sound,                                                                    
     Southcentral, and Southeast.  To  fund this, I urge you                                                                    
     to  roll back  the  credits to  the  oil companies  and                                                                    
     charge  what  oil to  other  states  charge to  harvest                                                                    
     their resources.   Re-institute  a state  education and                                                                    
     income tax  to ensure all  users of Alaska  systems pay                                                                    
     their fair  share.   And reduce  the permanent  fund to                                                                    
     what  it  was  originally   intended  -  a  bonus,  not                                                                    
     something to  support your families  on.  Alaska  is so                                                                    
     much  more  than   Anchorage,  Fairbanks,  and  Juneau.                                                                    
     Please save our ferry.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:57:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBIN  IRVING testified  she is  a 35-year  resident of  Cordova.                                                               
She  said that  while she  understands Cordova  cannot expect  to                                                               
have full  service restored, she would  like to see some  sort of                                                               
limited  and  regular  service  in Prince  William  Sound.    She                                                               
suggested some operational changes that  could be done that would                                                               
give Cordova  service and  spread those  gaps out  more equitably                                                               
among all the communities in the system.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. IRVING said  her first suggestion is to leave  the M/V Aurora                                                               
in Prince  William Sound for  at least two  more weeks, if  not a                                                               
month,  since it  is  the  busiest time  of  the  year in  Prince                                                               
William Sound  and there  would definitely  be enough  traffic to                                                               
support it.   Although the  M/V Aurora  is scheduled to  take the                                                               
place of  the M/V LeConte  in northern Lynn Canal,  the schedules                                                               
of  the M/V  Columbia and  the M/V  Malaspina, also  operating in                                                               
northern Lynn  Canal, could be  tweaked to pick  up a few  of the                                                               
ports that  the M/V Aurora  would have  served.  By  mid-fall the                                                               
M/V  LeConte would  be back  in service.   After  the M/V  Aurora                                                               
leaves, the  M/V Tustumena could  be brought into  Prince William                                                               
Sound  to provide  regular once  a month  service throughout  the                                                               
duration.  Although the M/V Tustumena  is only scheduled to be in                                                               
service until January, bringing it  into Prince William Sound for                                                               
at least  10 days  a month  would not alter  the total  number of                                                               
service days that  are already on the books for  that boat.  Crew                                                               
schedules  wouldn't  have  to be  altered  because  the  two-week                                                               
rotation of  the crews could  be maintained to provide  a regular                                                               
service in Prince William Sound.   Kodiak and Cordova would get a                                                               
little gap, but everybody would have regular service.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:59:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. IRVING  noted that  the overhaul schedule  calls for  the M/V                                                               
Kennicott  and  the M/V  Tustumena  to  go into  overhaul  almost                                                               
simultaneously.  She  said she understands there  are issues with                                                               
scheduling drydock but  that longer service could  be provided by                                                               
staggering  the drydocking  of these  two vessels  such that  one                                                               
could be  in service while  the other is  in drydock.   While the                                                               
M/V Tustumena  cannot use the  AMHS dock,  it can use  the cruise                                                               
ship dock  with some limitations,  so at a minimum  Cordova would                                                               
at least get service to a road system in Valdez.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. IRVING  further suggested that  the M/V Kennicott  be brought                                                               
in if  the M/V Aurora cannot  be kept in Prince  William Sound in                                                               
September.   She  noted the  schedule shows  that Prince  William                                                               
Sound  has a  gap  starting  October 1,  but  Cordova  has a  gap                                                               
starting  September 12  when  the  M/V Aurora  leaves.   The  M/V                                                               
Kennicott  could  come into  Prince  William  Sound, go  over  to                                                               
Whittier and Chenega Bay and then  out to Kodiak to cover the M/V                                                               
Tustumena's run  while the M/V  Tustumena is making its  last run                                                               
of the chain.   So, instead of sending the  M/V Kennicott over to                                                               
Kodiak, it  would be kept in  Prince William Sound to  do several                                                               
roundtrips  during the  five  days  that it  would  have gone  to                                                               
Kodiak.   The M/V Tustumena  is coming back and  servicing Kodiak                                                               
anyway, so  it wouldn't give Kodiak  a very big gap  and it would                                                               
help  Cordova tremendously  during one  of the  busiest times  of                                                               
year.  Plus, the car deck  of the M/V Kennicott is about two-and-                                                               
one-half times the size of the car  deck on the M/V Aurora, so it                                                               
could take a  lot of traffic.  She urged  that her suggestions be                                                               
used as a starting point to think outside of the box.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:01:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAMARA MARTIN stated she was born  and raised in Cordova and grew                                                               
up riding the ferry but is no  longer a resident.  Her husband is                                                               
in the  Alaska fishing industry  and Vermont is their  other home                                                               
when not  traveling.  She  pointed out  that she and  her husband                                                               
don't pay  taxes on the income  they make fishing in  Alaska, but                                                               
they do  in Vermont.   She urged that Alaska  fix this.   She and                                                               
her children are currently stranded  in Cordova [due to the ferry                                                               
worker strike]  after arriving on  the ferry.  She  visits family                                                               
in Cordova  and her  family needs the  ferry for  medical, family                                                               
visits, and other uses throughout the season.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. MARTIN related that while  talking with two Cordova teenagers                                                               
last night the teenagers expressed  fear at how expensive it will                                                               
now be  to live in  Cordova without  ferry service and  what that                                                               
will  mean for  them.   She said  this isn't  how a  child should                                                               
believe in their home.  These  drastic cuts have been made during                                                               
the  two weeks  that she  has  been in  Cordova visiting  family.                                                               
Planning  needs to  be done  in  advance so  parents can  explain                                                               
these  things to  their children.    These children  are in  fear                                                               
because  they are  hearing the  fear from  their family.   It  is                                                               
unfair to  communities and families  to suddenly say that  in two                                                               
months they will  no longer have a service that  was being relied                                                               
on.   She  urged [DOT&PF]  schedule planners  and legislators  to                                                               
remember who they are serving.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:04:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KRISTY ANDREW, Director, Budget  and Finance, Cordova City School                                                               
District, stated she  is a three-year resident of  Cordova and is                                                               
a business  owner as  well as the  school district's  director of                                                               
budget and  finance.  She  said she  is honored to  represent the                                                               
350  students within  the community.   The  community of  Cordova                                                               
relies heavily  on the  Alaska Marine  Highway System  to provide                                                               
essentials  such  as food,  medical  supplies,  equipment, and  a                                                               
variety of  necessary services.   The  school district  relies on                                                               
the   marine  highway   to   provide   safe  and   cost-effective                                                               
transportation for  its student  activity and  athletic programs.                                                               
The  AMHS presents  equitable opportunities  to Cordova  students                                                               
like  those  experienced  by students  on  the  traditional  road                                                               
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANDREW explained that prior  to release of the proposed ferry                                                               
schedule, Cordova  School District  must work with  other schools                                                               
to  set up  a  schedule for  its coming  school  year events  and                                                               
competitions.   Travel  for  a  great majority  of  these is  the                                                               
Alaska Marine Highway System.   Between the months of August 2019                                                               
and May 2020,  the district has scheduled  180-plus vehicle ferry                                                               
tickets  to  carry  more than  1,600  students,  chaperones,  and                                                               
coaches to these events.  If  the marine highway system is not in                                                               
operation during  this time the school  district's transportation                                                               
costs will  more than triple.   In  short, a disruption  of ferry                                                               
service as  proposed will land  a debilitating blow to  the range                                                               
of tangible  and intangible opportunities that  the district will                                                               
be able to  offer its students.  Many of  the district's students                                                               
will  miss out  on regional  and state  event participation.   In                                                               
addition, they will  miss out on the  competitive experiences and                                                               
increased  understanding  of  the   larger  sense  of  community,                                                               
growing  in knowledge  regarding different  regions and  cultures                                                               
within the state, peer networking,  and leadership and self-skill                                                               
development  opportunities.    She urged  that  consideration  be                                                               
given  to the  impacts  a  limited ferry  schedule  will have  on                                                               
Cordova's children.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:08:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KARL BECKER testified he has been  a Cordova resident for over 40                                                               
years.   He and  his wife  use the ferry  system for  shopping in                                                               
Anchorage,  medical  appointments,  visit  friends,  dining,  and                                                               
movies, so  the ferry is  a significant part of  their lifestyle.                                                               
He said  he would  like to  keep the ferry  system running  as it                                                               
does now with  service to Cordova several days  a week throughout                                                               
the  winter.   Cordova  residents  depend on  the  ferry and  the                                                               
current proposal is totally unacceptable.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BECKER pointed out that when  he drives the Glenn, Seward, or                                                               
Richardson  highways  he gets  to  drive  them  for free.    Yet,                                                               
somehow, he  is made  to feel  like a freeloader  when he  buys a                                                               
ticket to  get on the  ferry, and  this is unconscionable.   This                                                               
hearing wouldn't be occurring were  it not for the administration                                                               
trying to  balance the state  budget in one  or two years  and to                                                               
pretend  that   Alaska  is  somehow  destitute   and  financially                                                               
strapped  when  the state  has  billions  of  dollars in  a  bank                                                               
account.  He expressed his  hope that committee members will take                                                               
back to  the administration  that it  is unacceptable  to balance                                                               
the budget in one or two years.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. BECKER  noted that the  possibility of privatizing  the ferry                                                               
system has been presented.  He  posited that the profit made by a                                                               
private company taking  over the system and  maintaining the same                                                               
level  of service  would be  a  tax in  disguise.   Privatization                                                               
should be  taken off  the table.   Privatization  is not  the way                                                               
Alaska's highway system  should be run   unless tolls  are put on                                                               
the roads in the other parts of Alaska's highway system.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:12:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   DRUMMOND  offered   her  appreciation   for  the                                                               
testimony suggesting that Alaska's  paved highways should be made                                                               
into toll  roads.  She  related that  when DOT&PF was  making its                                                               
budget presentation to the committee  this past spring, she asked                                                               
the deputy  commissioner, "How many  other highways in  the state                                                               
collect 42  percent of their  operating costs in revenues?"   The                                                               
deputy  commissioner's  response was  "none  of  them because  we                                                               
don't have  toll roads here."   Representative Drummond  said she                                                               
wanted  the audience  to  know  this because,  at  least, she  is                                                               
considering toll roads.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:13:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL related that privatizing  the ferry system has come                                                               
up in  many meetings.   He  said he  has asked  the commissioners                                                               
about  the  number  of  ferry  systems  in  the  world  that  are                                                               
profitable, and the answer is none.   So, he isn't sure a private                                                               
company would want  to step into that.   Regarding testimony that                                                               
many  more  years should  be  taken  to  balance the  budget,  he                                                               
pointed out that  the House and Senate this year  passed a budget                                                               
that was  balanced and that  had a permanent fund  dividend (PFD)                                                               
of $1,000 rather  than the full $3,000.  Thus,  it is possible to                                                               
balance the budget with no taxes  and pay everyone $1,000, and he                                                               
doesn't think that is a bad thing.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:14:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHELSEA  CORRAO, Music  Teacher,  Cordova  City School  District,                                                               
stated she  is Cordova's only music  teacher and this year  it is                                                               
Cordova's  turn to  host the  Aurora Music  Festival, a  festival                                                               
that  has been  around since  the 1970s.   It  is a  small school                                                               
festival that is  comprised of anywhere from 8 to  16 schools and                                                               
right now 12  to 14 schools are expected to  come to the festival                                                               
in  April.   It is  a logistical  nightmare to  get participating                                                               
schools from the rest  of the state that are on  a road system to                                                               
Cordova.  It will take two  ferry trips roundtrip within 24 hours                                                               
to get all 400 students  plus teachers and chaperones to Cordova.                                                               
It  is a  big  cost for  schools,  so charges  must  be made  for                                                               
registration, and  meals.   Except for  Unalaska, Cordova  is the                                                               
only participating  school not on  the road system,  and Unalaska                                                               
cannot  host it  because that  is logistically  impossible.   The                                                               
Cordova festival is the most  expensive because the students must                                                               
ride the ferry.   Now, she will  have to go to  the other schools                                                               
and tell  them that if  they still want  to have the  festival in                                                               
Cordova  their students  will have  to fly.   At  this point,  if                                                               
Cordova cannot host  it, then the festival will not  happen.  The                                                               
logistics were  figured out in April  2019 and she let  the ferry                                                               
know in  May 2019  what was  needed.  She  said this  festival is                                                               
needed  and includes  about 500  people.   She  related that  the                                                               
district is begging  for a ferry an April 15  and 16, [2020], and                                                               
again on April 18 and 19 to take the students home.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:17:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DICK SHELLHORN  testified he is  a lifetime resident  of Cordova.                                                               
He quipped  that in his 75  years in Cordova this  is undoubtedly                                                               
the biggest  gathering of Cordovans  in one room all  agreeing on                                                               
the  same thing.   He  referred to  an article  he wrote  for the                                                               
newspaper titled "Time  to Go Jump Off the Dock."   Of course, he                                                               
doesn't mean  literally, but  his biggest  concern is  how people                                                               
who  don't agree  with the  ferry cuts  can change  the minds  of                                                               
[those who made the cuts].                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHELLHORN said he was a  high school teacher for 30 years and                                                               
is now  retired.   He recounted  that in  1989 some  Cordova High                                                               
School  kids got  together and  had a  protest down  at the  dock                                                               
where  five of  them  in wetsuits  jumped off  the  dock and  the                                                               
protest got some  recognition statewide.  He said  he supposes he                                                               
could ask  how many  in the  audience today  would be  willing to                                                               
jump off the  dock to get published this time.   Perhaps then the                                                               
Anchorage paper and other publications  would pay some attention.                                                               
It is  frustrating and  so repetitive to  come to  these meetings                                                               
over so  many years to present  the same arguments and  have them                                                               
ignored.    He  expressed  his  hope that  the  minority  who  is                                                               
governing the state  will make some changes for  the positive and                                                               
good of everybody in Alaska.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHELLHORN recalled  that when  he came  back to  Cordova and                                                               
started  teaching  in  1972,  he  rode a  ferry  called  the  M/V                                                               
Bartlett.   The M/V  Bartlett was commissioned  in 1968  and from                                                               
1968 to  1977 it  ran without  any oil revenue  for the  State of                                                               
Alaska.   So, the argument that  there is not revenue  to pay for                                                               
the  ferry is  not logical  because  this year  the oil  industry                                                               
contributed $1.9 billion to the  state budget.  He questioned why                                                               
the ferry could  run before without oil revenue but  not now.  He                                                               
jested that  in the meantime  he is looking  for a wetsuit  so he                                                               
can jump off the dock.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:20:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TONI BOCCI  stated she has  worked at the Cordova  ferry terminal                                                               
for 26  years.  She and  her co-workers have worked  through many                                                               
ferry schedule crises, she said, and  she has faith in the Alaska                                                               
Marine  Highway System  and those  who administer  it.   If given                                                               
sufficient  funds, they  would  be able  to  give all  Southeast,                                                               
Southwest, and  Southcentral a year-round  ferry service  of some                                                               
kind.   She expressed her  hope that Alaska legislators  can find                                                               
common ground and do what is best for all of Alaska.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:21:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHELLE KOCAN,  LAc, Owner, Acupuncture  & Wellness  of Cordova,                                                               
testified  she is  a Cordova  resident who  provides health  care                                                               
services to year-round  and seasonal residents.   She offered two                                                               
suggestions.  For  the seasonal residents who  participate in the                                                               
fishing  industry,  she  suggested  it is  important  that  ferry                                                               
access  start  in at  least  March  and extend  through  October.                                                               
Seasonal residents  are a significant  part of her  patient base,                                                               
she noted,  as is the case  for other businesses in  Cordova.  If                                                               
ferry service  could be kept  year-round, she suggested  there be                                                               
roundtrip access  to Whittier  at least twice  a month  so people                                                               
can  get  medical care.    Without  specialized medical  care  in                                                               
Cordova, people are  already waiting longer than  they should for                                                               
their care.  Getting this  care is inconvenient and expensive and                                                               
often entails three to four  appointments across several days, so                                                               
being able to combine it with other errands is important.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOCAN pointed out that  travel for medical care for Cordova's                                                               
expectant mothers  is difficult and inconvenient.   She explained                                                               
that  pregnant women  must go  [to Anchorage]  at 36-37  weeks if                                                               
there are no complications.   This requires that housing be found                                                               
for the  duration until delivery, so  the housing cost can  be up                                                               
to $2,000 a month during the wait to  have a baby.  To not have a                                                               
vehicle would another other expense and difficulty.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:23:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CARL BURTON,  SR., stated  he is a  50-year resident  of Cordova,                                                               
having arrived in 1968 on the ferry.   He said his concern is the                                                               
same as  everyone else's.   In  2013 his  son was  diagnosed with                                                               
lupus.   After  flying to  Seattle and  getting a  treatment plan                                                               
going, monthly  trips to Anchorage  had to  be made for  the next                                                               
five  years  to do  blood  tests,  scans,  and other  things  for                                                               
keeping  his son  on  the right  medication.   There  was no  way                                                               
during that  time period that he  could have afforded to  fly and                                                               
rent  a car,  when  it was  double  the  price.   He  said he  is                                                               
bringing this up  because every day people are getting  sick.  He                                                               
spent $130,000  in the first two  years and that was  the best he                                                               
could do, there was no way he could have flown.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:25:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NICOLE   SONGER,  Director,   Cordova  Family   Resource  Center,                                                               
testified that  the center is  a nonprofit domestic  violence and                                                               
sexual  assault program  that also  helps low-income  individuals                                                               
and families with  state and public assistance.  She  said she is                                                               
speaking for the marginalized and  underserved population who may                                                               
be unable  to attend today  and speak.   She explained  that this                                                               
will impact their  safety.  Cordova has no  shelter and sometimes                                                               
individuals need to  get to a shelter, with  the closest shelters                                                               
being in  Valdez and  Anchorage.  Flying  people to  Anchorage or                                                               
Valdez will  cost a lot more  from the center's budget.   Another                                                               
impact will  be the cost  of food; if  that goes up,  people will                                                               
come to the center more to  seek service.  Single parent families                                                               
will be  impacted as a single  parent must often take  his or her                                                               
entire  family to  Anchorage when  only one  child has  a medical                                                               
appointment  because  the  family  has  no  other  resources  for                                                               
childcare.    Flying  versus  taking   a  ferry  could  be  quite                                                               
detrimental to  their resources.   A further  impact is  that the                                                               
cost of  supplies for use  at the center will  go up, so  with an                                                               
already tight  budget the  center will  not be  able to  do more.                                                               
She urged that  the marginalized be considered  because they will                                                               
be highly impacted by these decisions.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:27:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAMMY ALTERMOTT, Board Member, School  Board, Cordova City School                                                               
District, stated she is serving a  third term on the school board                                                               
and has two kids in the school.   She and her husband own a local                                                               
construction company and  their business depends on  the ferry to                                                               
get parts and  supplies.  Oftentimes in the middle  of the week a                                                               
piece of equipment  will break down and they cannot  wait for the                                                               
barge to  come in  or [the parts  are] too big  for the  plane to                                                               
bring in.  So,  they will run up on the ferry  and get the parts.                                                               
Working a job  has a timeframe and there is  no consideration for                                                               
if equipment breaks down and it cannot be fixed.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALTERMOTT  said it  is the  kids who will  take the  brunt of                                                               
having  no  ferry.    She  recounted  that  last  winter's  ferry                                                               
schedule  wasn't  great and  then  the  ferry  broke down.    The                                                               
basketball teams traveled between seven  and ten days.  They flew                                                               
out and then drove in the  wintertime around the state and played                                                               
basketball games seven  or eight days in a row.   So, once again,                                                               
this is  what the  kids are  looking at this  year.   Junior high                                                               
kids pretty  much did not  have activities because of  the costs.                                                               
A lot of the teams chose not  to come to Cordova because it would                                                               
cost them  too much.   The wrestling regionals were  scheduled to                                                               
be in Cordova last year but  that changed when they saw the ferry                                                               
schedule.   This year Cordova  is supposed to have  wrestling and                                                               
music  regionals,  but they  probably  won't  happen without  the                                                               
ferry.   There have been so  many cuts in education.   Cordova is                                                               
continually  advocating for  education dollars,  so this  will be                                                               
devastating to Cordova's kids.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ALTERMOTT advocated  for weekly  service  that supports  the                                                               
Cordova community and Cordova's kids.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:30:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM DEATON,  Student, testified he is  17 years old and  is a                                                               
senior at Cordova's high school.  He spoke as follows:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     As  some of  the  legislators have  said  on the  House                                                                    
     floor  in  Juneau,  the ferry  system  was  created  in                                                                    
     advance of  some of the  most traveled  highways within                                                                    
     our state.   Can you  imagine one of the  most traveled                                                                    
     highways  going unplowed  in the  wintertime?   We have                                                                    
     been told  that DOT  is planning  this schedule  off of                                                                    
     profitability.    Is  it profitable  for  DOT  to  plow                                                                    
     Thompson Pass near Valdez during the wintertime?                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     As a student who is in  sports and music, I am impacted                                                                    
     by the  inability to travel  for competitions.   Cross-                                                                    
     country travel  uses the ferry system  most weekends to                                                                    
     travel across  the state  to compete.   It  is doubtful                                                                    
     now whether  we will be able  to do that if  the strike                                                                    
     continues and the travel schedule is solidified as is.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Furthermore, Music  Festival is in  April.  I  can tell                                                                    
     you from experience  three years in a row  that that is                                                                    
     one of the most  important learning abilities for music                                                                    
     students  to go  to  this festival  and  to learn  from                                                                    
     highly  trained music  individuals to  teach us  how to                                                                    
     use  our instruments  well.   Cordova  has a  wonderful                                                                    
     music  teacher in  Chelsea Corrao,  she is  phenomenal,                                                                    
     and I cannot wait until  we have music here in Cordova.                                                                    
     It is vital that we have that here this year.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     I want to  make clear however that I do  support a full                                                                    
     statutory PFD.   Representative Stutes,  your amendment                                                                    
     to add $5  million back into the  Alaska Marine Highway                                                                    
     System is  so appreciated  by my family  and I.   Thank                                                                    
     you  for your  leadership.    Please reinstitute  ferry                                                                    
     service to Cordova.   Even if it  is extremely limited,                                                                    
     we need this service.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:32:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROB  CAMPBELL noted  he has  lived in  Cordova for  12 years  and                                                               
rides the ferry four  to eight times a year.  He  said he came to                                                               
Cordova on  the ferry   Bellingham  to Haines and then  Valdez to                                                               
Cordova - in January to work  at the Prince William Sound Science                                                               
Center.   Like the science  center's other researchers, he  has a                                                               
program  that  brings  in  $400,000 to  $1  million  annually  to                                                               
support his research efforts.   The research is done locally, and                                                               
the  science center  tries to  make sure  the money  stays local.                                                               
The ferry brings  in much of the science  center's raw materials,                                                               
such  as field  supplies,  food, and  hazardous  materials.   For                                                               
example, he  uses disposable train  wheels that weigh  700 pounds                                                               
each and he brings in 16 at a  time.  He bought a 24-foot flatbed                                                               
trailer  just for  this purpose  because bringing  the wheels  by                                                               
ferry is  a third of  the cost of sending  them by freight.   The                                                               
science  center tries  to  hire technicians  in  Alaska and  they                                                               
often come  on the ferry.   The science center is  about to spend                                                               
$20 million  to build a new  campus in Cordova, much  of which is                                                               
predicated on having ferry service.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. CAMPBELL related it is  often heard that residents declined a                                                               
road to  Cordova many years  ago.  He  pointed out that  the 1973                                                               
environmental impact statement  (EIS) can be found  online and in                                                               
1973  the estimate  was  $50 million  to build  the  road and  $5                                                               
million a year to run it.  He  estimated that in 2019 it would be                                                               
more  like $500  million  to  $1 billion  to  build  and tens  of                                                               
millions of  dollars to run,  which puts  a ferry budget  of $180                                                               
million into  context.   He said the  ferry is  Cordova's highway                                                               
and this highway  is needed by residents to get  their work done.                                                               
He  offered  his belief  that  daily  service isn't  needed,  and                                                               
neither is  a gas-guzzling  fast ferry that  can't sail  in rough                                                               
winter weather.   Additionally, he doesn't need a  $3,000 PFD, he                                                               
continued,  but  Cordova  does  need  regular,  dependable  ferry                                                               
service to get its work done.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:35:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CAITLIN  MCKINSTRY testified  she  is an  eight-year resident  of                                                               
Cordova.    She  and  her  partner,  Mr.  Campbell,  are  in  the                                                               
beginning  stages  of a  house  project.    She  said a  home  is                                                               
probably the  biggest investment that  she and Mr.  Campbell will                                                               
make  in their  lifetimes and  they are  choosing to  do that  in                                                               
Cordova.   The  money from  the  substantial loan  that they  are                                                               
getting  will  go  to  carpenters,  plumbers,  and  craftsmen  in                                                               
Cordova.   As well, they  will need  to make trips  to Anchorage.                                                               
They are going to hire a firm in  Homer to build the shell of the                                                               
house,  which will  then be  brought  from Homer  to Cordova  via                                                               
ferry.   However, without  ferry service they  will be  unable to                                                               
afford to  do their home  project.  Additionally,  the carpenters                                                               
and engineers from Homer will need  to come to Cordova to do this                                                               
project.  Their  home project, she pointed out,  shows that ferry                                                               
service is important to Cordova and to other parts of the state.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:36:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WENDY  RANNEY, Co-Owner,  Orca  Adventure  Lodge; Owner,  Whale's                                                               
Tail Caf?, stated that she  and her husband have structured their                                                               
successful lodge  business for  26 years  around using  the ferry                                                               
service.  The  ferry service affects them  professionally as well                                                               
as  personally.   She  explained  that  it isn't  only  residents                                                               
leaving the community to get  services outside, but also what the                                                               
ferry brings  in.  For  example, she turns  50 this year  and she                                                               
depends on  the mammogram bus coming  to Cordova on the  ferry so                                                               
she can get regular checkups.   Her lodge business depends on the                                                               
fire  services  that   come  in  to  service   the  lodge's  fire                                                               
extinguishers  and  sprinkler  systems.     Tools  and  hazardous                                                               
materials for the  lodge cannot be brought via  airplane.  Enough                                                               
time  cannot be  scheduled to  barge  things in  because a  quick                                                               
turnaround is  needed for the lodge  to get those services.   She                                                               
and her  husband purchased a  box truck  to take to  Anchorage to                                                               
get supplies and  to keep their business sustained.   They try to                                                               
keep as  much money  as they  can in the  community, but  that is                                                               
unrealistic when they  must supply a summer  business that houses                                                               
upwards of 100 people.   To provide perspective, she quipped that                                                               
the  volume of  toilet paper  needed for  the 68  toilets on  the                                                               
lodge's  property  cannot be  brought  in  by  a tote  on  Alaska                                                               
Airlines; it must  come on a box  truck and she needs  to be able                                                               
to  do that  affordably  so  she can  provide  an experience  for                                                               
people who are coming to Cordova.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. W.  RANNEY further pointed out  that her lodge has  boats and                                                               
airplanes that  need parts and service.   She has a  boat that is                                                               
U.S. Coast  Guard inspected and equipped  with a life raft.   The                                                               
life  raft  must be  sent  to  a  single  business on  the  Kenai                                                               
Peninsula to be inspected  every year.  So, the raft  is put in a                                                               
box truck which  she drives over to that business  where it stays                                                               
for  months  during  the  winter  while it  is  taken  apart  and                                                               
inspected and then  put back together.  Then she  must go back to                                                               
Anchorage  with the  box  truck to  get the  raft  and return  to                                                               
Cordova so it can be put back on  the boat by April or May for an                                                               
inspection  and utilized  for  the summer.    While these  things                                                               
aren't big  numbers, they  are a  necessity to  her way  of life.                                                               
Yes,  she continued,  Cordova residents  choose to  live off  the                                                               
road system,  but that doesn't  make them  second-class citizens.                                                               
Cordovans  are part  of this  state  and it  is a  constitutional                                                               
right for  Cordova's residents to have  health and transportation                                                               
services.  Cordova needs its ferry.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. W. RANNEY  added that her lodge  supports the Inlandboatmen's                                                               
Union of the Pacific in this  strike.  If this strike doesn't get                                                               
solved, she said,  it means she loses 46 room  nights next month.                                                               
Those 46 room  nights cost her when the ferry  cannot bring those                                                               
people in.   Those people aren't going to fly;  they are going to                                                               
cancel.   This is important  to their  business, yet she  and her                                                               
husband are supporting  the strike.  To testify today  she had to                                                               
close  her business  on the  busiest day  of the  week.   This is                                                               
important to her and her husband  and it is important to Cordova.                                                               
Cordova  residents  are  tired  of   talking  to  deaf  ears,  so                                                               
committee members coming to hear residents is appreciated.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. W. RANNEY  reiterated that the ferry is needed.   She related                                                               
that she  and her  husband cannot run  their lodge  business with                                                               
such short notice of the loss.   She recounted that when the fast                                                               
ferry came, she and her husband  ramped up their business to take                                                               
the fast  ferry business.   When  the fast  ferry was  lost, they                                                               
lost all  their travel  agents, so  they revamped  their business                                                               
model and came  out ahead and stayed successful.   Their business                                                               
can  handle a  reduction  in  service, but  she  and her  husband                                                               
cannot take a two months'  notice and handle an eight-month loss;                                                               
their business needs something.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:42:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LAUREN  BIEN, Education  Director, Prince  William Sound  Science                                                               
Center, introduced three current students  present with her.  She                                                               
explained that  the ferry provides educational  opportunities for                                                               
the center's  science-based education for Cordova  students.  She                                                               
coaches  the  National Ocean  Sciences  Bowl  team, which  is  an                                                               
amazing opportunity for students to  learn about the sciences and                                                               
the oceans  and become  future leaders in  Alaska, a  state whose                                                               
healthy economy  is based  on its ecosystems.   The  team travels                                                               
via the ferry, but  this year the team was unable  to do that due                                                               
to a two-day notice cancelling the  ferry.  The team then flew at                                                               
great cost to its already small budget.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BIEN said  the science  center  also runs  the Copper  River                                                               
Stewardship  Program.   She explained  that  this program  brings                                                               
together students from Cordova and  from all over Alaska to learn                                                               
about the  state, the  watershed, the  economy, the  ecology, and                                                               
the  people.   The ferry  is used  as an  education tool  in that                                                               
program; it's  12 hours of  time out  on the sound  that normally                                                               
would not  be made available  to the  program.  While  riding the                                                               
ferry the Exxon  Valdez oil spill is  discussed, and observations                                                               
are  made for  learning  about ecosystems.    The three  students                                                               
standing  with her  today were  stranded at  Kenny Lake  when the                                                               
ferry was canceled and were brought  back to Cordova by the water                                                               
taxi that the science center had  to hire.  She invited the three                                                               
students to provide testimony.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:45:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JACQI KINSMAN, Student, Copper  River Stewardship Program, Prince                                                               
William  Sound  Science  Center,  testified he  is  a  three-year                                                               
resident of Cordova.  He lived  in Utah before moving to Cordova,                                                               
he shared,  so he  was new  to having no  roads.   It has  been a                                                               
great experience for him to be  able to go on school sports trips                                                               
and learn new  leadership and teamwork skills  that have affected                                                               
his life.  He  now feels more confident and it  is easier for him                                                               
to click  and bond with new  people because he has  learned these                                                               
skills  through  these educational  trips.    Through the  Copper                                                               
River  Stewardship Program,  he and  the other  students have  an                                                               
opportunity in  February to revisit  and regather and  share what                                                               
they have learned  at the Alaska Youth Forum, but  now they won't                                                               
be able to do  this because it will simply cost too  much.  If he                                                               
cannot go, he will be  greatly disappointed because he is excited                                                               
to share all the things he has learned.   While he can do that in                                                               
Cordova, it would be amazing to  go and meet new people and share                                                               
what  he has  learned  with them  so they  can  learn about  this                                                               
experience that could be offered to them.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:46:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GRACE COLLINS, Student, Copper  River Stewardship Program, Prince                                                               
William Sound  Science Center,  stated she  is a  12-year Cordova                                                               
resident.  The ferry is important  to her because she rides it to                                                               
go to [her family's] cabin and  to travel for sports trips.  She,                                                               
too, would like  to go to the Alaska Youth  Forum in February and                                                               
re-meet with the stewards who went on this year's trip.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:47:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRADEN  BECKETT,  Student,   Copper  River  Stewardship  Program,                                                               
Prince William  Sound Science Center,  related that he  also went                                                               
on this  trip with  the stewards.   He said  they had  planned to                                                               
return to  Cordova by taking the  ferry, but then it  was learned                                                               
the ferry was  going on strike.   It took many hours  and lots of                                                               
work from the  science center to gather resources and  find a way                                                               
back for  the stewards.   The  ferry is  getting taken  and there                                                               
isn't much that can be done about it unless [people] act.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:48:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANGELO NORFLEET  testified he  is a  10-year resident  of Cordova                                                               
and works for  the Alaska Marine Highway.  He  estimated that the                                                               
ferry on average  brings into Cordova [$10-$20  million].  People                                                               
are here asking for  two days a month, but this  town will not be                                                               
sustained on  two days a  month, he  advised.  He  advocated that                                                               
Cordova needs  a ferry four  days a week because  Cordova's ferry                                                               
is chock full almost every day.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NORFLEET further  advised that  during winter  there doesn't                                                               
need to be a run to Valdez because  Valdez has a road.  He said a                                                               
great  winter schedule  that would  be easy  to do,  is to  leave                                                               
Cordova  in   the  morning,  arrive  Whittier   in  the  morning,                                                               
overnight,  and then  return to  Cordova the  next day.   Because                                                               
there are  rooms on  the M/V  Aurora, no money  would need  to be                                                               
spent on a  hotel or per diem,  which is money that  is now being                                                               
spent for the Hubbard.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:51:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CINDY APPLETON stated she is a  36-year resident of Cordova.  She                                                               
came to Cordova via ferry after  college, she said, and works for                                                               
the  city but  is speaking  today on  her own  behalf.   She gave                                                               
birth and  raised her children  in Cordova.  Her  oldest daughter                                                               
just made  it out, but her  two other children who  were supposed                                                               
to leave on  the ferry this week are now  unable to, although she                                                               
supports the strike.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  APPLETON recounted  that  in the  mid-1990s  she served  two                                                               
terms on  the school board.   She was  in Cordova during  the oil                                                               
spill and  when the  economy crashed in  the early  1990s, during                                                               
which time Cordova lost many  families that have never come back.                                                               
Currently she is  seeing an uptick in the number  of young people                                                               
wanting to come  back to Cordova to live, but  they need services                                                               
like   good  schools,   good  medical   care,  and   recreational                                                               
opportunities.    The  ferry  is   Cordova's  highway;  it  is  a                                                               
constitutional right that was promised years ago by Congress.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. APPLETON allowed  the ferry schedules over  the years haven't                                                               
always been great given midnight and  5:00 AM arrivals.  But, she                                                               
continued, she has many fond  memories waiting with other parents                                                               
in their  cars.   Watching the  ferry turn  the point  for coming                                                               
into Cordova  always gave  her goosebumps  that that  ferry, that                                                               
infrastructure,  took  her kids  to  the  Aurora Music  Festival,                                                               
basketball  tournaments,  and  other  events.    That  ferry  was                                                               
bringing home family  and loved ones.  It scares  her to think of                                                               
Cordova not having a ferry system  this winter.  Her youngest son                                                               
just graduated and is going off  soon.  She offered her agreement                                                               
with what the other witnesses have said today.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:55:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATE WILLIAMS, Principal, Cordova  Jr./Sr. High School, testified                                                               
she is going  to talk today about things that  cannot be measured                                                               
in dollars and  sense.  She said these cuts  to the Alaska Marine                                                               
Highway System  will cripple the high  school's athletics, music,                                                               
robotics, and problem  solvers programs, as well  as the National                                                               
Ocean Sciences  Bowl, the school's  partnership with  the science                                                               
center.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLIAMS related that as  principal she loses sleep over many                                                               
things.   Most of the  time, she said,  it is beyond  her control                                                               
and unwelcome.  But often she willingly  gets up at 3:30 AM to go                                                               
to the ferry terminal  to send off a team, or  she stays up until                                                               
midnight to  welcome a team home.   Whether it is  the swim team,                                                               
the cross-country team,  the band, the choir,  or robotics, these                                                               
students  sacrifice  their  sleep,  their time  away  from  their                                                               
families, and they do this  to represent Cordova across the state                                                               
and the nation.   The value of this is beyond  measure.  She gets                                                               
up  and   meets  them  because  encouraging   these  students  is                                                               
important.   At graduation  this year she  spoke to  the students                                                               
and about  the students as  travelers and how that  prepares them                                                               
for life.  These young Cordovans  are sent out into the world and                                                               
they represent the community well.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLIAMS  pointed out  that the 160  students in  the seventh                                                               
through twelfth grades will be impacted  by these cuts.  She said                                                               
about 36  of them will  be seniors, the class  of 2020.   This is                                                               
their  last  chance  and  they   shouldn't  be  robbed  of  these                                                               
experiences, of state  championship titles, regional championship                                                               
titles, and  tournament titles.  The  ferry is the heart  of this                                                               
community, it  is the heart of  who the people are  as Cordovans,                                                               
and it  is the heart of  the Wolverines.  She  urged that funding                                                               
be restored  to the Alaska  Marine Highway System  and year-round                                                               
service.  Cordova's students deserve it.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:59:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GAYLE RANNEY noted she has been  in Cordova a long time and first                                                               
came to  Alaska by ferry  when her sons  were aged two  and four.                                                               
She noted it was called an  autoliner at that time and the vessel                                                               
was the M/V Taku.   She said she is a silent  partner in the Orca                                                               
Adventure Lodge  and was a  bush pilot for  over 40 years  but is                                                               
now retired.   Cordova is  a family-oriented  community, children                                                               
are here  for this  hearing.   It is vital  to keep  the families                                                               
traveling.   The  local priest  in the  Episcopalian church  is a                                                               
missionary to  many of  the villages  and the  ferry can  be very                                                               
important  for that  missionary work.    The ferry  is a  healing                                                               
process for so many  people.  It is a part  of people's lives and                                                               
enriches their lives.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. G.  RANNEY pointed  out that  Prince William  Sound Community                                                               
College,  located in  Cordova, is  a  way for  kids without  much                                                               
money to  get started.   They  can then go  on the  University of                                                               
Alaska because so many kids cannot  afford to go out of state for                                                               
their education.   She added that her permanent  fund dividend is                                                               
unnecessary.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:03:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHAWNA WILLIAMS-BUCHANAN testified she  is a commercial fisherman                                                               
and she  is before the  committee today  to speak for  her fellow                                                               
commercial  fishermen and  her family  who are  not here  because                                                               
they  are  out  fishing.    She  explained  that  for  commercial                                                               
fishermen to be able do what  they do, they must at the beginning                                                               
of  the season  load  up  trucks, trailers,  and  cars  to go  to                                                               
Cordova, sometimes making  several trips back and forth.   At the                                                               
end of  the season, they  do the exact  same thing again.   Along                                                               
with their  boats, many families  bring their travel  trailers to                                                               
live in.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLIAMS-BUCHANAN pointed out that  the ferry is a vital part                                                               
of commercial  fishing.  Of  the more than 500  gillnet fishermen                                                               
in  Cordova,  she said,  120  are  Cordova  residents.   So,  380                                                               
fishermen  use the  ferry starting  in April,  not May,  to begin                                                               
their pre-season work.  The end  of the season is in October, not                                                               
September.  Those 380 permit holders  use the ferry to take their                                                               
trucks, trailers,  and boats home  for the winter, and  with what                                                               
is happening  right now, these  fishermen, including  herself and                                                               
her vehicle, are stranded in Cordova.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:05:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PETER HEPTERER  stated that  loss of the  ferry service  has many                                                               
impacts upon  everyone in Cordova,  including personally  for him                                                               
for   health  care   and  purchasing   goods,  and   commercially                                                               
transporting goods to and from  Anchorage.  The suddenness of the                                                               
reduction  in services  has brought  great concerns  from Cordova                                                               
residents as well as multiple solutions to remedy this.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. HEPTERER  said he has lived  in Cordova for 26  years and has                                                               
raised his  family as  a commercial  fisherman, a  small business                                                               
owner.  He  sits on several boards locally as  well as statewide.                                                               
He has had  the pleasure of watching his two  daughters and their                                                               
cohorts  grow up  and go  through  Cordova's excellent  education                                                               
system.   One aspect of that  was his multiple years  of pleasure                                                               
driving  the high  school  volleyball team  to  games around  the                                                               
state via the ferry  system.  He is on the  school board, and the                                                               
impact  on the  school  district's already  strained budget  will                                                               
additionally take a hit with  school and activity costs increased                                                               
by flying.   With  limited and  decreasing funding,  this further                                                               
complicates  [the school  district's] educational  funding.   The                                                               
suddenness of this  action is disturbing because  plans have been                                                               
put into  motion and  budgets have been  structured on  the ferry                                                               
system.  This economic impact will be felt in Anchorage as well.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HEPTERER pointed  out  that important  to  travel on  Prince                                                               
William  Sound  is the  connection  to  Whitter, not  to  Valdez.                                                               
Valdez already has  a road, he noted, and Thompson  Pass can be a                                                               
very dangerous  place to  send one's  children during  the winter                                                               
due to  treacherous driving  conditions.   Reasonable, consistent                                                               
ferry  service is  needed.   He  suggested that  the state  could                                                               
raise  revenue  by immediately  instituting  an  increase in  oil                                                               
corporation taxes, reinstating an  income tax, and decreasing the                                                               
PFD, thereby getting state services for constituents.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:08:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAYA RUSSIN,  Student, discussed the  effects on students  of not                                                               
having ferry service.   Most high school  students participate in                                                               
activities that  rely on ferry  travel throughout the  year, such                                                               
as basketball, track, or robotics.   Pretty much every kid in the                                                               
Cordova  high  school  would  be impacted  by  not  having  ferry                                                               
service.  She believes that  sports and travel are very important                                                               
for students, from team building  to experiencing other places in                                                               
Alaska, which help  students [grow up] as a person.   Some of the                                                               
most important things  she has learned in the four  years she has                                                               
lived in  Cordova have  been taught when  she was  traveling with                                                               
her team or on the ferry  having a great time with her teammates.                                                               
Every  single  student deserves  the  opportunity  to travel  and                                                               
experience that.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:09:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PETE MICKELSON  stated the  shoulder season  is important  to him                                                               
because in March and April he  uses the ferry to haul supplies to                                                               
Cordova.   During  the  first  week of  May,  again the  shoulder                                                               
season,  Cordova  holds  a shorebird  festival  and  people  from                                                               
around  the state  take  the  ferry from  Whittier  or Valdez  to                                                               
attend  this festival.    From  mid-April to  early  May all  the                                                               
fishermen are  getting organized for  the season opening  in mid-                                                               
May.   In  the summertime  the  ferry is  important for  bringing                                                               
people across for  the Copper River Salmon Jam  and the bluegrass                                                               
music camp  that has  been organized by  Belle Mickelson  for the                                                               
past 25 years.   In August and September, he takes  a trip to the                                                               
Interior for caribou  hunting and the fair in Fairbanks.   In the                                                               
past he has traveled Outside for  a fall trip mainly in September                                                               
and October.   The shoulder season is quite important  to him and                                                               
others in Cordova.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. MICKELSON further noted that  hauling supplies all year round                                                               
is important to the restaurants  and other businesses in Cordova.                                                               
He said he is willing to give up  at least half of his PFD to pay                                                               
for the ferry  service and advocated that an income  tax needs to                                                               
be reinstituted for all people who  work in Alaska.  That type of                                                               
revenue,  plus  higher  taxes  on the  oil  industry,  will  help                                                               
balance Alaska's budget.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:11:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MELINA MEYER stated  she is 29 years old and  was born and raised                                                               
in Cordova.  She  was born after the oil spill,  she said, so she                                                               
knows  what  it's  like  to  grow  up in  a  town  that  is  very                                                               
depressed.   She  remembers stores  closing  and few  restaurants                                                               
because Cordova  was in a depression.   As she got  older Cordova                                                               
had a  slow and steady growth  out of the depression.   Cordova's                                                               
canneries  are now  operating, its  economy is  coming back,  and                                                               
restaurants  and hotels  are open  rather than  being boarded  up                                                               
like they  were when she  was in high school.   Part of  that was                                                               
the  fast ferry.   Cordova  was promised  it would  have regular,                                                               
consistent,  fast service  to Whittier,  which brought  in growth                                                               
that Cordova hadn't  seen in a long time.   Cordova was resilient                                                               
when it  lost that fast  ferry and  kept the doors  of businesses                                                               
and restaurants open.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEYER  related that  after going off  to college  she thought                                                               
heavily  about not  returning to  Cordova.   But  she decided  to                                                               
return because Cordova had fast  internet, consistent service via                                                               
plane to  Anchorage and Seattle,  and she  could take her  car on                                                               
the ferry over to  Anchorage and see the rest of  the state.  She                                                               
still chooses to live in Cordova even without the fast ferry.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEYER offered  her opinion that perhaps people  are being too                                                               
accommodating to  say that  ferry service just  twice a  month is                                                               
all that  is needed.   Rather, she  thinks Cordova  deserves more                                                               
than that.  Cordova needs  consistent service three to four times                                                               
a week.   Or, if  not every day a  roundtrip, then at  least over                                                               
one day and back the next day.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:14:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOAN JACKSON testified  she is a 47-year Cordova  resident and an                                                               
artist.   She  pointed out  that some  of Cordova's  recreational                                                               
opportunities are  the result  of having a  ferry.   For example,                                                               
people  bring in  the ammunition  and supplies  for the  trap and                                                               
skeet shoots  at the gun  range, things that couldn't  be brought                                                               
in via  an airplane.   As  well, [materials]  are brought  in for                                                               
building  playgrounds   and  [the  ferry   enables]  performances                                                               
through the arts council.   Artists like herself often take their                                                               
work to shows in Alaska and elsewhere.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. JACKSON  said she  would like  to see  the same  quality that                                                               
Cordova  has been  able  to  maintain.   The  Cordova Chamber  of                                                               
Commerce has  listed many  of the aspects  that were  heard about                                                               
from people testifying  today.  Consistent ferry  service is very                                                               
important to her.   She and her  husband go out for  a few months                                                               
in the winter,  leaving in October and returning on  the first of                                                               
April.  She shares a car with  her son in Anchorage, which is his                                                               
winter car, but now she doesn't know  how she will get the car to                                                               
him.   She  expressed her  hope that  the words  of today  aren't                                                               
falling on deaf ears.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:17:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHELLE HAHN  stated she is a  46-year resident.  She  noted she                                                               
had the  privilege of  working for  the Alaska  State Legislature                                                               
for  16 years,  12 as  the  information officer  for the  Cordova                                                               
Information  Office.    Through  her  work  in  this  nonpartisan                                                               
position she  was able  to watch as  the three  committee members                                                               
here today came  into office and began working hard  on behalf of                                                               
the citizens of  the state of Alaska.  They  are doing their work                                                               
with compassion  and caring.  In  their attempts to do  the right                                                               
things they often run up against some big politics.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HAHN thanked  Co-Chair  Wool for  speaking  to the  balanced                                                               
budget that was passed.  A  balanced budget wasn't done only this                                                               
session and  vetoed by the  governor, she  said, but it  was also                                                               
done  last  session.    She  argued that  the  budget  crisis  is                                                               
completely manufactured  by Governor  Dunleavy and that  there is                                                               
no  budget  crisis.   The  real  question  here today,  and  that                                                               
committee members  face every day, is  what kind of a  culture is                                                               
wanted for the state.   What kind of a vision  do people have for                                                               
the state  and what  kind of  a future is  wanted for  the state?                                                               
Alaskans  can have  a  future where  they're  takers, where  they                                                               
become dependent,  and where  they become  slaves to  receiving a                                                               
permanent fund dividend, or Alaskans  can have a culture of being                                                               
givers where they want to see everyone succeed and do well.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAHN  posited that  Governor Dunleavy's  veto cuts  cannot be                                                               
looked at as simply to the  ferry and the Cordova community.  She                                                               
said  the Power  Cost Equalization  cuts combined  with fish  tax                                                               
cuts combined  with school  cuts combined  with (indisc.  - audio                                                               
difficulty) all  join up  to devastate the  economy, not  just of                                                               
Cordova's community,  but of all  of Alaska.   The ferry  gives a                                                               
broad scope picture  of what that devastation will  be, as stated                                                               
so eloquently by today's speakers.   The message that needs to be                                                               
heard  by  the  representatives  and senators  of  Alaska's  non-                                                               
coastal communities is  that what is done  in coastal communities                                                               
will  still  directly  affect  them.     For  example,  Cordova's                                                               
wonderful  fungus festival  is put  on in  October and  attendees                                                               
will be unable to  bring their cars so they can  drive out to the                                                               
mushrooming spots.   Cordova's  incredible shorebird  festival is                                                               
also  scheduled for  a  time  when there  will  now  be no  ferry                                                               
service, so  again attendees will  be unable to bring  their cars                                                               
to drive out to the birding spots on their own.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:22:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAHN stated  that what she hears Governor  Dunleavy saying is                                                               
that Alaska is  open for business to large  corporations while he                                                               
throws all  the mom-and-pop businesses  under the bus.   She said                                                               
she  also feels  that  certain members  within  DOT&PF have  been                                                               
almost trying to sabotage....                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAHN  maintained that  once a month  service is  not service.                                                               
She said  that a ferry going  up once a month  and then returning                                                               
is unusable.  It would reinforce  that the ferry doesn't get used                                                               
because no  one in  Cordova could  afford to  leave their  car in                                                               
Anchorage for a  month.  Cordova residents cannot go  up and back                                                               
on  the same  day for  doctors' appointments.   Most  people need                                                               
three or  four days for  going to appointments and  loading their                                                               
trucks and then coming back.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAHN  summarized by  stating that  these cuts,  combined with                                                               
the  ferry  cuts, could  be  as  bad  for the  Cordova  community                                                               
economically as was the [Exxon Valdez] oil spill.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:24:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOSIAH  KELLY  stated he  is  a  fisherman.   He  said  Cordova's                                                               
winters  are  rough  and  it's  important to  have  a  ferry  for                                                               
resources  and other  reasons.   Returning the  ferry to  Cordova                                                               
should be more of a priority than it seems it is being given.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:25:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KELLEY  WEAVERLING testified  he is  a 32-year  Cordova resident,                                                               
former mayor, and  retired Cordova business owner.   He stated he                                                               
is  fatigued with  every year  having to  talk to  transportation                                                               
people  about   getting  a  decent  ferry   service  through  the                                                               
wintertime.   However, he noted,  this is  the first in  32 years                                                               
that Cordova  has had to argue  for ferry service at  all, and he                                                               
isn't feeling very  hopeful.  While it's unknown how  bad this is                                                               
going to  be, it's  known that  it is  going to  be very  bad, it                                                               
won't be  neutral or  positive.  It  is going to  be bad  for the                                                               
children, bad for  the schools, bad for the sick  and infirm, bad                                                               
for the  hospital, bad  for fish  processors, bad  for fishermen,                                                               
bad  for every  business in  town,  bad for  every individual  in                                                               
town, bad  for Cordova's  economy and the  community as  a whole,                                                               
and bad for  the state's economy as  a whole.  He  said these are                                                               
all good reasons not to  vaporize Cordova's ferry service through                                                               
the wintertime.  But what really  fatigues him and makes him very                                                               
depressed, he  continued, is that  he doesn't think  the decision                                                               
is being based on reason.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. WEAVERLING stated he cannot  add anything more to what people                                                               
have said  today.  They  say this every year.   One thing  he can                                                               
add that might  make some difference is that if  it isn't reason,                                                               
perhaps  it  is  numbers.    Fatigue has  taken  a  toll  on  the                                                               
attendance here  today, but earlier  he counted over  200 people.                                                               
Cordova's population  is about 2,000  and it's the middle  of the                                                               
fishing season  so not everybody  is here  who would like  to be;                                                               
but  200 people  represents 10  percent of  Cordova's population.                                                               
Put  in  scale, this  means  that  30,000  people would  be  here                                                               
speaking today had the hearing been held in Anchorage.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:28:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHRYN KELLY noted she is a  Cordova resident and an employee of                                                               
the Alaska Marine Highway System.   She explained why the ability                                                               
to put  vehicles on the  ferry is so  important to Cordova.   She                                                               
said the difference between Southeast  Alaska and Cordova is that                                                               
when  villagers in  Southeast  cannot get  their  vehicle on  the                                                               
ferry  they can  go  as a  walk-on  and then  find  taxis in  the                                                               
[destination]  parking lots  for shopping.   However,  going from                                                               
Cordova to Valdez or Whittier  requires driving.  As well, coming                                                               
from  Kodiak and  villages out  that way  also requires  driving.                                                               
The  focus is  on  getting  to Anchorage  and  the  main part  of                                                               
Alaska, versus people  in Southeast going to  Seattle; they don't                                                               
focus  on bringing  business up  into  the main  part of  Alaska.                                                               
Southeast Alaskans can use luggage  carts, but for this region it                                                               
is almost  like a different  ferry system, and Cordova  just gets                                                               
the leftovers from Southeast.   The Southwest ferry system is the                                                               
stepchild compared  to Southeast.   She provided examples  of how                                                               
the  people in  Southeast  don't  even know  where  the towns  of                                                               
Southwest Alaska are located.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:30:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KELLY said  she has  worked for  the ferry  system about  10                                                               
years and  much of the ridership  in Southwest is locals  and not                                                               
tourists.   Employees of AMHS in  this area do not  work one week                                                               
on and one week off, they work  longer and get to know the locals                                                               
and  become  a  family  with  the  people  of  Southwest  Alaska.                                                               
Whereas in Southeast  Alaska, employees work one week  on and one                                                               
week off and  the ridership is mostly tourists and  when they get                                                               
off the  boat the  boat is trashed.   When the  kids who  live in                                                               
Southwest Alaska are  on the ferry they are  doing their homework                                                               
and many  times if  they create  a mess  their coaches  will make                                                               
them clean  it up, promoting ownership  of the ferry and  that is                                                               
part of the culture of Cordova.   When decisions need to be made,                                                               
Southwest Alaska cannot just be  lumped in with Southeast Alaska.                                                               
She  further pointed  out that  when Cordovans  go to  Anchorage,                                                               
they drive on the only toll road to get back to Whittier.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:32:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BECKY CHAPEK testified  that this is a very dire  situation.  She                                                               
noted she owns  a car rental company  and that she took  a car to                                                               
Anchorage for  some body work,  along with a transmission  in the                                                               
back.   However, [because of  no ferry  service], she had  to fly                                                               
home  without the  car  or  transmission as  baggage.   She  said                                                               
Cordova residents depend on the ferry system.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CHAPEK related  that upon  her  return to  Cordova, she  had                                                               
messages.  One  was from a woman bringing her  husband's ashes to                                                               
Cordova to scatter.  The woman  was canceling half of her party's                                                               
visitation because they couldn't afford  to fly.  Another message                                                               
was  from  a  woman  who  was bringing  her  grandchildren  on  a                                                               
staycation  to Cordova.    The woman  was  very apologetic  about                                                               
having to cancel  her rental car reservation.   A contractor left                                                               
today who  is 10 days short  of completing what he  was hoping to                                                               
get done, but  there is no way  to haul the equipment.   A family                                                               
from Wisconsin  had the  trip of their  life [planned],  but they                                                               
are now  going elsewhere  in Alaska  and not  Cordova.   She also                                                               
tried to  give advice to  a group of  15 rafters coming  down the                                                               
Copper River as to what they should do.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:34:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. CHAPEK advised  that Cordova needs a ferry in  the summer for                                                               
people  like  these visitors  and  for  Cordova residents.    She                                                               
further  advised  that a  ferry  is  also  needed in  the  winter                                                               
because Cordova residents are so  busy in the summer with running                                                               
their  small businesses  that  they  do most  of  their work  and                                                               
travels  in the  winter.    While Cordova  might  survive with  a                                                               
smaller population  and less service,  it won't thrive,  and that                                                               
isn't what  a future is.   Cordova residents wants to  keep their                                                               
promises  to  their  kids  and their  community,  and  they  want                                                               
legislators to keep  their promises.  This cannot be  done when a                                                               
governor does [this type of budget  savings].  She added that she                                                               
has been  in Cordova a  long time, and  she paid state  taxes and                                                               
school taxes when she first came.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:36:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KORY  BLAKE stated  he was  born and  raised in  Cordova and  his                                                               
father served  in Juneau  for many  years.  He  said that  in the                                                               
last  10 years,  [Cordova  fishermen] brought  their business  to                                                               
Anchorage and surrounding communities,  with 30-50 boats built in                                                               
the  Anchorage  area.   He  brought  his  last boat  business  to                                                               
Anchorage where he built a $230,000  boat that he is using today;                                                               
he  had an  opportunity to  save and  support his  state.   Other                                                               
boats from  Cordova that are  bigger than his are  spending money                                                               
in Anchorage,  Palmer, and Homer.   These boats are  brought down                                                               
through the highway and use the ferry system sometimes.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BLAKE added  that he  fishes  for Copper  River Seafoods,  a                                                               
company that spends $1.2-$1.4 million  a year on the ferry system                                                               
with his  fish.  That  is his market.   A couple years  ago there                                                               
was a ferry  system rate increase and as well  fishermen pay fuel                                                               
taxes.  So, where is Cordova's  road going?  Cordova needs a road                                                               
and a stable road.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. BLAKE pointed  out that business by  Cordova residents cannot                                                               
be done in  Anchorage on one trip  a month.  He  posited that the                                                               
M/V Aurora  is probably the  one ship  that pays for  itself with                                                               
business from Cordova.  There is  the health and wellbeing of the                                                               
Cordova community  - last year  in April  he went for  health and                                                               
there were  eight people going  for health services  in Anchorage                                                               
or elsewhere in  the state.  The M/V Aurora  is Cordova's tourism                                                               
boat  for all  its  festivals.   Perhaps  Anchorage should  start                                                               
paying for  itself, he suggested,  maybe Anchorage needs  a sales                                                               
tax.   Cordova has a  sales tax; most  small communities do.   He                                                               
offered  his belief  that  Anchorage is  just  sucking off  state                                                               
revenues.   He said he supports  a state income tax;  he paid one                                                               
when he  was young  and he's  59 years  old now.   He  would also                                                               
support a  little less dividend.   He  urged that the  state quit                                                               
giving money  to the  oil companies which  are making  more money                                                               
than anybody else.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. BLAKE  noted [Prince  William Sound] has  one of  the biggest                                                               
Ship Escort/Response Vessel System  (SERVS) fishing vessel fleets                                                               
in the state to protect from  another oil spill.  The SERVS drill                                                               
is done at the end of September.   How are all those people going                                                               
to get  out and  back to  Palmer and Wasilla  who do  those spill                                                               
drills out  of Cordova?   Another  drill starts  in April.   Most                                                               
people are coming over in April,  but the schedule is for May and                                                               
that isn't fair.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:39:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHARITY SCHANDEL  testified that her family  has been established                                                               
in Cordova  for over  70 years  and her  household is  U.S. Coast                                                               
Guard.   At the beginning  of 2019,  she said, her  household was                                                               
told  that  a paycheck  was  not  going  to  be received  for  an                                                               
unforeseen amount  of time, and  now her household is  being told                                                               
that  it's lifeline  to resources  will be  non-existent.   Until                                                               
this very moment she has  never involved herself with politics on                                                               
a serious  level and  has always  believed that  a person  has no                                                               
right  to complain  unless he  or she  is going  to do  something                                                               
about  it.    So,  her  sitting   here  is  a  testimony  of  her                                                               
disagreement with the ferry services  being eliminated and she is                                                               
going to share what her family is deciding to do about it.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SCHANDEL related  she has  two children  in Cordova  Jr./Sr.                                                               
High School.   Elimination of Cordova's ferry  service, she said,                                                               
will mean that school sports  will suffer if not be non-existent.                                                               
The lack  of ferry service  will leave no alternative  other than                                                               
paying  double  the  price  to fly  teams  via  Alaska  Airlines.                                                               
Although  Alaska  Airlines  is  loved, the  people  who  pay  the                                                               
difference  are the  ones  filling  this room  right  now.   This                                                               
town's livelihood is  its fisheries and if  the seining fisheries                                                               
continue to  not be  as profitable  as was  hoped for  this year,                                                               
where will  the people here come  up with the extra  funds to get                                                               
their  students  on  flights?   The  domino  effect  of  removing                                                               
Cordova's ferry service for eight  consecutive months is going to                                                               
be catastrophic to Cordova.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SCHANDEL said  her  household's Coast  Guard  tour of  being                                                               
stationed home in Cordova ends summer  2020.  It is unknown where                                                               
their next station will be, she  continued, and they may not know                                                               
until  as late  as  the  coming spring.    The  house her  family                                                               
currently rents is on the market  and their lease ends October 1.                                                               
Their  landlords have  said her  family can  stay on  a month-to-                                                               
month  basis until  they transfer  but to  be aware  that if  the                                                               
house sells, they will have 90  days to relocate.  This may sound                                                               
like a reasonable  timeframe, but it is very  possible that there                                                               
might not  be any  available housing  options when  that happens,                                                               
much less  letting her  family move in  knowing that  they cannot                                                               
logistically sign a year lease.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SCHANDEL explained  that the  decision to  remove the  ferry                                                               
feels like  she is being  violently shoved into  deciding whether                                                               
her family will  need to leave Cordova much sooner  than had been                                                               
anticipated.  She  and her family have decided  that if Cordova's                                                               
ferry service is to be removed,  the safest option is for them to                                                               
leave Cordova as the school year  approaches.  This is because it                                                               
would be ludicrous to temporarily  establish somewhere else while                                                               
waiting for orders, especially since there  will be no way to get                                                               
their household goods  and vehicles out of Cordova.   As a backup                                                               
plan,  she will  homeschool  her children  this  next year  while                                                               
traveling to various farms across  the Lower 48 and incorporating                                                               
their  learnings  and  work  trade  as  part  of  the  children's                                                               
curriculum.   In other words, she  and her children will  do work                                                               
trade for eight to nine months  in exchange for housing and food.                                                               
Ms. Schandel  urged that this potentially  irreversible damage to                                                               
families  across  the  state  be  taken  into  account  [and  the                                                               
decision] reconsidered.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:43:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STUTES  thanked everyone for  coming to the  hearing and                                                               
invited  attendees to  come over  to the  Reluctant Fisherman  to                                                               
speak to  committee members  one-on-one after  the hearing.   She                                                               
invited the committee members to make closing remarks.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:44:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND stated how  impressed and grateful she is                                                               
that so many  Cordovans took time out of their  busy schedules to                                                               
speak today.   She said  she has  heard some excellent  ideas and                                                               
offered her hope  that the DOT&PF officials  listening today will                                                               
take  up  residents'  suggestions  for  how  to  make  the  ferry                                                               
schedule work better for Cordova.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:44:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  concurred with Representative Drummond  that it is                                                               
great to hear  from so many people and see  such a great turnout,                                                               
especially in  a town  this size.   He noted  that in  Juneau the                                                               
committee  heard  testimony  on  the  ferries  from  hundreds  of                                                               
people.   While  a  lot  of the  testimony  was  similar, he  has                                                               
learned that the  issues for Cordova are  slightly different than                                                               
for other  communities.  For example,  he wasn't so aware  of the                                                               
economic  connection and  that  the loss  of  ferry service  will                                                               
result  in  loss of  commerce  with  Alaska businesses  in  other                                                               
places  like  Anchorage, and  that  much  of that  business  will                                                               
subsequently go south.  He also  learned at the other meeting, as                                                               
well as  at this  meeting, about the  important numbers  shown in                                                               
the 2016  McDowell Group study.   However, a price tag  cannot be                                                               
put  on  the educational  aspect  of  the team  experiences  from                                                               
school athletics, robotics, band, and science fairs.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:46:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  posited that  perhaps Cordova  is a  microcosm for                                                               
the whole  state as to what  the impacts will be,  and that those                                                               
impacts aren't just  the ferry cuts but also all  the other cuts.                                                               
For example, his  community of Fairbanks is looking  at a massive                                                               
cut to the university system, which  may ripple to Cordova.  But,                                                               
he  continued,   the  massive   cut  to   the  ferry   system  is                                                               
disproportionate to the  other cuts and the reason  given is that                                                               
the state  doesn't have the  money, the  budget isn't there.   He                                                               
questions that  and whether these  cuts would still  be happening                                                               
even if there was the money.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  said legislators  must push back  as hard  as they                                                               
can.   He  related that  legislators  tried to  override some  of                                                               
these cuts but  fell short of the super high  threshold of three-                                                               
quarters, but most legislators don't  support this.  While people                                                               
get mad  at the  legislature the legislature  passed laws  not to                                                               
have this happen, but three-quarters  of the bodies are needed to                                                               
overcome it.   Referencing  the phrase  "survive not  thrive," he                                                               
said he  thinks the  state has  the resources  to thrive  and not                                                               
just  survive.     What  is  happening  with   the  ferries,  the                                                               
university,  and other  big institutional  cuts  is important  to                                                               
address.   While this hearing is  about the ferries, the  PFD and                                                               
the budget are a part  of the [legislature's] conversation, which                                                               
was  also  resoundingly heard  from  witnesses  today.   Pushback                                                               
needs to continue  against the obstinate leadership  to show that                                                               
intelligent leadership and wisdom should prevail.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:49:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN noted  she represents  a coastal  district                                                               
that  includes the  communities of  Lynn Canal,  Haines, Skagway,                                                               
and  Gustavus.   She  said  she spent  her  childhood riding  the                                                               
ferries of Prince  William Sound and a career  taking students on                                                               
the ferries of Southeast.  It  is heartbreaking to those who know                                                               
the importance of ferries to  the lifeblood of small communities.                                                               
She is  a fish broker and  has totes of fish  sitting in Pelican.                                                               
As  a  teacher  of  geography,  she  was  stunned  to  hear  that                                                               
dispatching for  the marine highway's workers  doesn't understand                                                               
that McCarthy is not a skip away from Cordova.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  shared that  IBU and  the State  of Alaska                                                               
have been  in the Capitol  complex today with a  federal mediator                                                               
since 1:30  p.m. and are still  at it.  So,  she continued, there                                                               
is  potential  optimism for  renewed  service  soon if  mediation                                                               
continues.   The critical nature  of ferries to  Alaska's coastal                                                               
communities can never be overstated;  it is how these communities                                                               
connect to  each other and  how they  stay.  Without  the ferries                                                               
the  communities don't  thrive and  wither up.   She  thanked the                                                               
attendees for  giving up  a day  of fishing  season to  make sure                                                               
that the legislative branch of  government understands this.  She                                                               
said legislators are fighting to get ferry service restored.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:51:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STUTES  thanked  Representative Drummond  and  Co-Chair                                                               
Wool  for   traveling  to   Cordova  for   this  hearing.     She                                                               
complimented  her district  and thanked  Cordovans for  attending                                                               
this hearing.   She  said the committee  has heard  Cordovans and                                                               
will  be following  up  on this.   She  expressed  her belief  in                                                               
ferries and said  that while this is a trying  time for everyone,                                                               
she believes everyone  will get through it in  a positive manner.                                                               
She  announced that  DOT&PF is  holding a  teleconference on  the                                                               
draft  schedule at  1:30 p.m.  on 7/29/19.   She  and her  fellow                                                               
committee  members will  be working  on  DOT&PF schedule  changes                                                               
that benefit communities like Cordova.   They will also be trying                                                               
to secure more  funding.  She noted that  restoring ferry service                                                               
is her number one priority.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:53:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR KOPLIN  announced that  the room  used for  today's hearing                                                               
will  open at  1:00  p.m. on  7/29/19 for  people  to testify  on                                                               
DOT&PF's proposed winter schedule.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR KOPLIN added that he wants  to stress the importance of the                                                               
state  airports in  Cordova and  Yakutat.   He  pointed out  that                                                               
seining has been closed for a  week or two in Southeast and there                                                               
are a lot  of fishermen that need other areas  to fish or tender,                                                               
so there is a lot of commerce  back and forth in traveling.  When                                                               
bringing  in a  boat, it  is Cordova's  state airport  that gives                                                               
fishermen a  chance to  get their  crews in and  out in  a timely                                                               
fashion.      The   airport  is   an   important   economic   and                                                               
transportation  tie  for  the  whole  of  Prince  William  Sound.                                                               
Having  regular ferry  service  in  and out  of  Cordova is  what                                                               
connects the  sound to the  airport.  For example,  he continued,                                                               
while at the Board of Fisheries  in Valdez last year, only 24 out                                                               
of 50 flights had flown out  because of weather, so everyone took                                                               
the ferry  to get  home.   He thanked  the committee  members for                                                               
their work.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:55:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Transportation Standing  Committee meeting was adjourned  at 4:56                                                               
p.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HTRA 7.27.19 Supporting Documents.pdf HTRA 7/27/2019 1:30:00 PM