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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

AMHS Needs Forward Funding

By Rep. Dan Ortiz


October 07, 2017
Saturday AM

The Alaska Marine Highway System needs forward funding. I don’t think I need to say it twice. If money is allocated to the AMHS for its future expenses, the AMHS can properly plan sailings which would: capture revenue from tourists (including those considering traveling with their RV’s or vehicles), allow businesses to send employees to neighboring islands, and provide more advance planning options for Alaskans.

Of course, the ferry system would also benefit from being more insulated from political influence. Currently, support for the marine highway, its projects, and solutions to long term problems change every 4-8 years depending on changes within the governor’s administration and the legislature. I am working diligently within the legislature to protect AMHS funding and services.

Former Ketchikan representative Robin Taylor had recommended a public corporation model for the marine highway several times. In 2002, a bill was created in the Senate that would have organized the marine highway into a public corporation, but the bill was ultimately unsuccessful at the time. The idea was once again brought up at last week’s Southeast Conference. One positive of making it a public corporation is that the ferry system would be more protected from shifting political priorities.

It has recently come to light that the current budget has not allocated enough funds to the AMHS to run through the fiscal year. Both Senator Stedman’s and my offices, as well as legislative finance, were unaware of this predicament until recently. However, we are confident that we can fix it, and it will be a top priority during this upcoming regular session beginning in January. That mistake is just another reason why the ferry system would benefit from forward funding.

As always, please email me at or call my office at 907-247-4672 if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.


Rep. Dan Ortiz
Ketchikan, Alaska



Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received October 02, 2017 - Published October 07, 2017

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