SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Marine Transportation Advisory Board Overwhelmingly
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 board itself.

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 state.

"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 consideration.



Source of News:

Alaska House


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska