Annual migration to Legislature begins with Wednesday’s cross-Gulf ferry from Whittier


Wednesday, Jan. 5, marks the day when the annual migration of legislators and their staff begins to Alaska’s capital. The Kennicott ferry leaves Whittier with cars, pets, possessions for the 90- 120-day session that begins on Jan. 18. Several legislators are planning to be on board the ferry, which is scheduled to leave at 9 am.

The Whittier tunnel is not open until about 7 am, making it likely that most legislative travelers will be at the ferry terminal later than the three hours advance requested by the ferry system. The trip across the Gulf to Juneau takes about 34 hours.

The Kennicott will make just one trip across the Gulf before going into service at the Ketchikan shipyard for overhaul on Jan. 14. Alaska Marine Highway System says the overhaul will take longer than originally scheduled due to the extent of work needed, vendor delays, and supply chain issues. The estimate is for 98 days, with a return to service on April 21.

How other legislators and staff not traveling Wednesday will get their vehicles to Juneau is a question. Some may drive to Haines to pick up the Kennicott on its last trip to that northern Lynn Canal community. From Haines, the ferry goes back to Juneau, then on to the shipyards in Ketchikan.

Built in 1998, the M/V Kennicott is one of the younger vessels in the AMHS system. It has the capacity of up to 499 passengers, up to 78 vehicles and has cabins for overnight sailings. The vessel can be transformed into a command center for emergency teams responding to a marine disaster. AMHS says the Kennicott has had little time in the shipyard over the past two years and has an extensive checklist of maintenance items.


  1. Yeah. I’m not gonna watch. Do what you want like you always do. It makes no difference. See you in August. $$$

  2. With all these legislators using the Alaska marine highway system for their travel to Juneau, it may be a good time for them to focus on how to adequately fund the system for the long term. Maybe they can appreciate how essential the system is for some communities.

    • Wayne, firstly, I commend your parents for their excellent choice for your given name.
      Secondly, please consider, if I chose to live in a remote village in SE Alaska, is it fair that I demand state government subsidize my annual transportation and freight costs by $250,000 per year? Even if those living in urban areas, or remote areas with road access are only subsidized by $10,000 to 20,000 per year? How much additional state subsidy is fair to enable my idyllic, remote lifestyle?

  3. Such a great memory of being a passenger on her. The winter of 05.
    An E ticket ride for those old enough to remember Disneyland tickets.
    That ride turned people green and yaking all the way to Yakutat.

  4. That’s going to be a rough ride at this time of year. I guess it’s a bonding experience for the legislators?

  5. What a crock, move the legislative session to the road system somewhere.
    Wonder who will be the beer pong leg wrestling champ this year?
    This crap in Juneau with the mask? mandate, just in time to lord over anybody with a functioning brain.
    Very little to be optimistic about when it comes to state or federal politics. Except for when the sessions are over and the legislators are giving us a break.

    • While beer pong and leg wrestling is no doubt something they want on their resumes, it would be nice if they’d focus on a couple of Alaska’s more pertinent economic concerns. Here’s a CPI snippet regarding inflation that is likely to impact Alaskans in a more exaggerated fashion than the populace in other states:

      There’s been a 6.1% nat’l price increase for food in the prior 12 mo’s

      There’s been a 33.3% nat’l price increase for food in the prior 12 mo’s.

      I’m certain these idiots will applaud themselves for the lift cost increase in our oil industry while forgetting that most fuel purchased is freighted in and not refined in Alaska. When they notice the cost of food spiraling they’ll vote themselves a wage increase. Good call there.

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