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PWS Ferry Authority Analysis

Feasibility Study for a Regional Ferry Authority


Photo:  Loading F/V Kennicott

Loading F/V Kennicott.

Background and Purpose

Ferry service is critical to the economic fabric of our Prince William Sound communities. In light of declining state support for the Alaska Marine Highway System and increasing service disruptions, Prince William Sound Economic Development District is exploring alternative options to ensure sustainable ferry service for our region.


Project Scope

PWSEDD has engaged McKinley Research Group (formerly McDowell Group) and Coastwise Corporation to assess the viability of a regional ferry authority or other mechanism to provide regional ferry service to Prince William Sound ports. The scope of work includes the following:

  • Definition of ferry service alternatives (vessel types and schedules)

  • Traffic and revenue analysis

  • Operating and capital cost analysis

  • Financial feasibility and risk analysis

  • Assessment of the benefits and costs of local control


Public involvement is a core component of this work, particularly in defining service alternatives that best meet community needs. A final report is available here, we welcome your comments on the analysis and its conclusions.


Our Consultants

McKinley Research Group (MRG) is an Alaska-based research and consulting firm with significant experience and understanding of the state’s ferry system, potential alternatives, and Alaska’s coastal economies. Coastwise Corporation is an Alaska-based marine engineering and naval architecture firm serving Alaska’s maritime industry for over 20 years. The MRG/Coastwise team was selected to perform this work through a competitive bid process.



This project launched in summer of 2022 and is expected to conclude in spring of 2023.

Context for This Study

In recent years, there have been several efforts to study and improve Alaska’s ferry system. These include the Alaska Marine Highway Reform Project launched by Governor Walker and the Alaska Marine Highway Reshaping Group launched by Governor Dunleavy. Both efforts have involved the public, including representatives from our region.


These studies generated several ideas to ensure long-term viability of Alaska’s ferry system. One idea is to establish a public corporation at the state level to help bring longer-term planning and vision to the system. Another idea is to establish local or regional ferry authorities to run local or regional ferry systems. With the current study, PWSEDD is taking the next step toward understanding what a regional ferry system might look like for Prince William Sound.  


Stay Involved!

Please follow this website for updates and opportunities to learn more and provide input. Public involvement and support are critical to ensuring any proposed ferry service is designed to meet our region’s needs. Send us a message about this project or sign up for e-mail updates here!

Past statewide AMHS studies are available here.

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