$140M approved by lawmakers for Alaska's marine highway

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Lawmakers have approved the Alaska Marine Highway System's budget request of $140 million.

    CoastAlaska News reported Monday that lawmakers OK'd the request earlier this month in their spending plan for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

    General Manager Capt. John Falvey said despite a small decrease in funding, the total time in service for ships will actually increase by eight weeks.

    The marine highway faced a shutdown in April when a little-known budget provision diverted ferry funding to cover Medicaid program shortfalls.

    But Gov. Bill Walker replaced that money in a supplemental budget request, which the Legislature approved.

    The Legislature's capital budget for next year also includes money for ferry overhauls, certifications and terminal and dock work. That's mostly paid for with federal funds.

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