News

Cruise lines say city misspent passenger fees

JUNEAU, Alaska – An association of cruise lines is suing the government of Juneau, Alaska, alleging misuse of millions of dollars in per-passenger fees.

The Cruise Lines International Association and its Alaska affiliate filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Anchorage. It challenges the legality of taxes imposed on cruise passengers who visit the state’s picturesque capital.

The lawsuit alleges use of the fees on projects that don’t benefit cruise ship passengers violates federal restrictions on entry fee taxes.

Among their complaints are $10 million spent on a planned whale sculpture and park project more than a mile from the cruise dock and $22 million spent on government operating expenses.

Juneau’s Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates close to 1 million cruise ship passengers visited the city in 2015.

Juneau’s mayor, who is also listed in the lawsuit, didn’t immediately return phone calls or emails seeking comment.