Rural community of Cordova cut off from ferry service for 8 months

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The city of Cordova will not have ferry service for 8 months starting mid-September. The winter service schedule that was announced on Thursday includes a large reduction in service due to budget cuts.

The city of Cordova will not have ferry service for 8 months starting mid-September. The winter service schedule that was announced on Thursday includes a large reduction in service due to budget cuts. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)

“Prince William Sound is not alone, and I don’t think frankly that they are being singled out, however I think they were handed the very longest and most impactful, because we are so close to mainland Alaska and we have an existing trade route and relationship there,” said City of Cordova Mayor Clay Koplin.

The city of Cordova along with Chenega Bay, Tatitlek, Valdez and Whittier will not receive service this winter. However, Valdez and Whittier are connected to the road system, where the other three communities are not.

Koplin says it is a suspension of service not a reduction of service. He talks about some of the activities that will be difficult since air travel will be their only way in and out of the city for 8 months.

"Your doctor visits, your medical visits, things you can't do by air, things you can't carry in an airplane, getting vehicles back and forth for maintenance, getting contractors in and out of the community. For example, mammogram vans, and support services," said Koplin. He says that they will now have to try to fit all of these activities into four months, which will get quickly overbooked.

Koplin says it's disruptive to say the least, and they are working on alternatives and finding solutions. He hopes the current conversation after the schedule cuts will lead towards additional accommodation.

“I know there’s funding challenges, there’s aging vessels, and maintenance challenges, I understand that this isn’t easy and it’s never good to know that improved service in your community may come at the expense of service in other communities but I do think it needs to be fair and I think for Prince William Sound even under the current structure it’s not fair,” said Koplin.

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