Thanks are due to Juneau’s Mayor, City Manager, and Assembly members for their recent support and forward-thinking action on a long-simmering downtown issue. Last Monday they announced strong support for the use of annual marine passenger fees to move ahead with the electrification of Juneau’s cruise docks.
“I agree with spending the passenger fees and remind the public they’re up for comment right now,” said Mayor Beth Weldon during the meeting.
Dock electrification has long been an important issue for Renewable Juneau. Channeling public interest and concern, we’ve written about it, posted about it, rallied around it, petitioned for it, offered official comments and thoughts about it, and now, we’re saying thank you to our city leaders who are rallying for it as well.
Allowing visiting cruise ships to avoid all-day idling while in port addresses a broad spectrum of issues, from public health and clean air, to climate action and renewable energy adoption, and the embracing of a port technology that is quickly spreading across the globe. Ironically, Juneau’s Princess dock was the world’s first electrified cruise ship dock. Today, Juneau has fallen to near the back of the pack, sitting quietly by as global ports make bold headway to allow ships to turn off their engines while in port.
Not only is there strong Juneau community support for dock electrification, but the cruise lines are supportive as well. And most recently, despite setbacks from a failed federal grant application that would have paved the way for full project funding, Juneau’s city leaders are expressing their support for this critical measure.
According to a Juneau Empire story published this past week City Manager Rorie Watt recommended continuing to apply for grants while at the same time seeking other funding sources and pushing the project forward.
“My assumption is that dock electrification is a priority for the community and that we are not on a timeline where we’re waiting to be successful for a grant,” Watt said. “We are applying for grants. We are hoping for grants. But we also need to be simultaneously developing the project and developing financing for the project.”
Friday, City Manager Rorie Watt proposed how to spend cruise ship passenger fees, calling for $2.6 million in funding for dock electrification (from an estimated annual haul of roughly $13 million) including design funding and a transformer that will allow multiple ships to connect to shore power once available (read the new memo that provides more information on this item bit.ly/3LErNC9.
The public has until March 4 to comment on the city manager’s recommendations for how to allocate cruise ship marine passenger fee proceeds. Read the draft proposal here bit.ly/3rWRzJX and read a new memo with supplemental information on the dock electrification item here bit.ly/3LErNC9.
Submit comments on the recommendations by March 4, 2022 to CBJ Tourism Manager Alexandra Pierce by email, email@example.com, or by mail to the City Manager’s Office, attn: Alexandra Pierce, 155 S. Seward Street, Juneau, Alaska 99801.
For more information, contact CBJ Tourism Manager Alexandra Pierce at Alexandra.Pierce@juneau.org or 907-500-8677.