She’s on it.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski has something to talk about with the White House — the new ferry project.
President Trump, in an effort to return manufacturing to the United States, is insisting that federally funded projects be built with domestically made parts. There’s a law to that effect.
The problem is that it takes time to move manufacturing from overseas to the U.S. Some parts aren’t available here, and it takes a waiver from the Federal Highway Administration administrator. Trump hasn’t appointed one yet.
The Alaska Legislature included $244 million in its capital budget to replace the Alaska Marine Highway System’s Tustemena. The ferry has been designed and funding is lined up.
The state can’t buy foreign-made parts — steel, for example — if it spends federal dollars on the project.
This situation is reminiscent of the recently successful effort to preserve a swath of Deer Mountain. Murkowski intervened when the scenic Ketchikan backdrop was threatened with timber harvest, pushing through Congress a land trade between the property owner and the U.S. Forest Service.
At the time, the effort appeared overwhelming. But with the cooperation of the property owner, properly motivated elected officials at all government levels, and no small share of Murkowski’s political power, the mountain will remain in its current state.
Murkowski will be welcoming the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to the state next week, a visit arranged before the Tustemena replacement situation came up. They will be discussing this.
It’s only a matter of time before Murkowski will be able to announce the Tustemena project can proceed full speed ahead.
There’s no other way to go.
— Ketchikan Daily News,