Skip to Content
Home / news / Press Releases

Press Releases

Congressman Don Young Applauds State of Alaska’s Marine Highway System Rehabilitation and Expansion Strategy

Washington, D.C.   Today, Congressman Don Young (R-AK) applauded this weekend’s announcement by Governor Mike Dunleavy that the State of Alaska will pursue a plan to replace the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS)’s MV Tustumena using new funding provided through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

The IIJA was signed into law on November 15, 2021, at the White House with Congressman Young in attendance. Throughout the bill’s drafting and passage, Congressman Young served as a key counselor to the President and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Among the legislation’s many components, $1 billion was successfully secured for essential ferry service through the AMHS. It also includes $73 million for the construction of new ferries for Alaska, in addition to providing funding for an electric ferry pilot program to help the AMHS fleet run cleaner. Congressman Young’s 2005 infrastructure bill, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), first made the AMHS eligible to qualify as a "highway" for the purposes of federal funding. The IIJA expands upon this authority and allows the AMHS to utilize federal funding for the system’s operational and maintenance costs.  This change greatly expands the flexibility of federal funding for the AMHS and allows the system to deploy federal support where it is most needed.

"The AMHS is an integral part of Southeast's transportation portfolio, and I have been a long-time supporter of its operations. We knew the bipartisan infrastructure act would be a gamechanger for Southeast Alaska. Governor Dunleavy's announcement is welcome news for our ferry system, and just the start of the tremendous progress this new bill will help us make on behalf of Southeast," said Congressman Don Young. "No other state has a ferry system like ours. While we drafted and considered the infrastructure bill, I knew Alaska needed to have a powerful voice at the table. I am proud to have helped deliver this funding for Alaska, and am grateful for our Delegation's leadership on this vital issue. The Tusty has served our state well for nearly 60 years. With the new infrastructure bill, the time is right to replace the Tusty with a modern vessel that can help Southeast succeed in the coming decades. Looking ahead, I will continue working with local, state, and federal leaders to ensure that we put this funding to good use and build safe, reliable infrastructure for the next generation of Alaskans."

###

Connect With Don