SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

AMHS Reform Post Summit

By Rep. Dan Ortiz


August 29, 2016
Monday PM

During my 1½ years as southern Southeast Alaska's state legislature representative, I've been door to door many times throughout our district seeking the peoples' opinion. One concern many constituents share is the efficiency, safety and reliability of our ferry system. I have heard from many southern Southeast locals - from Wrangell to Metlakatla - about their expectations of our ferry system. Most of the thoughtful suggestions can be boiled down to this: our ferry system must become more responsive to the needs of Alaskan residents who live and do business in coastal communities. The AMHS needs to become more insulated from political regime change and be provided reliable financial planning with long-term funding.

It has become clear to me, through the valuable input of you and your neighbors, that many Alaskans feel our ferry system can't operate at its full potential as long as its management is subject to political change and annual funding uncertainty. Both of these obstacles cause our ferries to fall short of meeting public expectations. In addition, the timing of the annual funding announcement negatively impacts our communities. The funding announcement is far behind the schedule of the real world, causing ferry schedules to be released long after the tourism sector has set their operating agendas, and also not far enough in advance for locals who are planning ahead for personal and community travel.

In comparison to similar marine highway systems across the world, our AMHS has a respectable return on box fares, and many do feel the AMHS is meeting their expectations of safety, reliability, and efficiency. However, there are always ways to improve. Anyone can contribute to this conversation by emailing thoughts, criticisms and suggestions to me at, by calling me at 907-247-4672, or by emailing the ferry system reform project head at .

Dan Ortiz
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received August 29, 2016 - Published August 29, 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.



Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor


Representations of fact and opinions in letters are solely those of the author.
The opinions of the author do not represent the opinions of Sitnews.

E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.

Published letters become the property of SitNews.

SitNews ©2016
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.