It took about 45 minutes for the Mat-Su Borough Assembly to end a closed door executive session Tuesday night over the future of the MV Susitna.
What we do know is the assembly discussed what to do next after the Federal Transit Administration demand the borough pay up the $12.3 million grant for the failed ferry project within 30 days.
“We don’t know all the options that are out there but we’ve been trying to sell, that’s no secret, we’ve been trying to persuade people that we really need a way out of this and so this kind of puts the fire under that effort,” said Mat-Su Assembly Member Jim Sykes.
The MV Susita was intended to act as a commuter link from Port Mackenzie to Anchorage.
“It seems like we’re kind of locked into a situation where we can’t perform because we can’t take the ferry across to another city that just hasn’t been very cooperative in letting us have a landing,” said Mat-Su Assembly Member Vern Halter.
Many call it money wasted because it never served the purpose of commuter transit; in fact, it’s never seen the waters of Cook Inlet. The vessel is currently docked in Ketchikan, costing about $29,000 a month.
“We took possession of the vessel in April of 2012 and we’ve been trying to see or transfer it since then,” said Port MacKenzie Director Mark Van Dongen.
At the end of the night it was made clear that this is just the beginning of long discussions the assembly will have on how to pay back millions of dollars to the Federal Government.
The borough has 30 days to pay up and if the debt isn’t paid within 90 days, the FTA said it will assess a late fee of 6 percent per year on any delinquent amount.