Juneau, Alaska (KINY) State Representative Sam Kito said the state will find the money to keep the Alaska Marine Highway going next April.
News out of the Southeast Conference in Haines this week suggested the ferry system is scheduled to run out of money on April 30, 2018. Kito said that is because the Senate Finance Committee put in a poison pill into the budget that pits Medicaid funding against the Alaska Marine Highway System.
"I'm very disappointed in the Senate Finance Committee. It is a totally inappropriate way to approach budgeting in the state of Alaska."
Kito predicted there will be an effort made to put in a supplemental budget to address any potential shortfalls the marine highway system might have, "I have heard from the Governor's office that there is no intent to have the marine highway system stop operating this year. Right now the money is not there. It is a matter of finding the money. It will happen, the money just isn't there right now and that is the challenge."
Kito said he is fully confident that the resources can be found to keep the ferry operating. "The bigger question is how do we make sure it doesn't happen in the future. We can't pit one part of state government against each other. We can't pit one government service against another."