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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Our Ferry System

By Rep.Dan Ortiz


August 20, 2016
Saturday AM

Is our ferry system serving you and your family? Are there ways in which ferry service could improve? How should our ferry system look ten years from now? These are questions I will work to address this weekend when I attend a ferry summit in Anchorage, with many of our own community members and other coastal Alaskans. After serving for thirty-two years as a teacher and coach, and especially after serving our district these past two years as your representative, I have a strong understanding of the economic importance the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) has to coastal Alaska. According to the recent McDowell report on our AMHS, for every dollar the states spends on the ferry system, at least two dollars are generated in the private sector. Primarily the hospitality industry, from bed and breakfasts to hotels and restaurants, benefits from our ferry system, but the AMHS also plays a key role in facilitating the shipping of goods into and out of coastal Alaska. We also can’t forget its importance to coastal Alaskan schools and their activities programs.

This summit is intended to direct our ferry system into a fiscally sound, reliable future. We will be discussing the current design of our ferry system, and evaluating all the ways our ferries are meeting expectations of coastal communities and businesses. We need to ensure our Alaska Marine Highway Service is cost-effective, affordable, reliable and safe. Help me build quality criteria for evaluating our ferry system and improving ferry service by telling me what you, your family, or your business needs from our ferries.

You can share your vision and expectations of the ferry system with me by emailing me at or by calling (907) 247 – 4672.

Dan Ortiz
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received August 16, 2016 - Published August 20, 2016

About: Ortiz is an independent member of the Alaska House of Representatives, who has since 2015 represented the 36th District. He is the only independent in the Alaska State Legislature.



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