Marine Transportation Advisory
Placed into Statute by House
April 07, 2008
(SitNews) - The Alaska House of Representative has passed HB
294, a bill that establishes the Marine Transportation Advisory
Board (MTAB) into statute. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Peggy
Wilson, R-Wrangell, Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, and Rep. Gabrielle
LeDoux, R-Kodiak, also makes some subtle changes to the current
board relationship to the Alaska Department of Transportation
and Public Facilities (AKDOT&PF) and the composition of the
This legislation increases the board from nine members in a similar
board as set forth in Administrative Order 233 to 11 members.
It also directs that at least two members shall be from areas
not directly served by the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS).
HB 294 also mandates that the transportation commissioner shall
consult with the MTAB after one or more candidates have been
considered for the position of director or deputy commissioner.
While preparing and then submitting a strategic plan to DOT/PF
for AMHS, this agency must confer with the MTAB in preparing
a long-range plan. Another unique feature of the bill is that
MTAB may establish volunteer regional advisory committees throughout
"The marine highway has been transporting people, vehicles
and other goods throughout Alaska since the mid-1960s,"
said Rep. Wilson. "A healthy System has given every one
of our coastal communities the opportunity to expand the commerce
of their region and provide a vital link for families, schools,
and cultures to flourish. In the past few years though, the marine
highway has suffered flu-like symptoms leading to several management
changes and funding challenges that has ushered in an era of
inconsistent service, broken down ferries, and financial uncertainty
for numerous businesses around Southeast and Southwest Alaska.
"Our communities deserve reliable marine transportation
service," said Rep. Wilson. "This new board will provide
the continuity that is essential throughout any transition of
a new governor or any changes in the hierarchy at DOT/PF."
HB 294 has been transmitted to the Alaska State Senate for its
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