Legislative Update: AMHS reform project forum coming to Cordova

Community welcome to pose questions, present ideas

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I am pleased to announce that my office is facilitating a presentation and community forum in Cordova on a topic that is near and dear to coastal Alaska: improving the dependability and quality of the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS). We expect the forum to take place in late September or early October but are still working on the exact date and location.

Specifically, there will be a PowerPoint presentation by Southeast Conference and the McDowell Group on the Alaska Marine Highway Reform Project and how it led to the formulation of HB 412. We will also be joined by Shirley Marquardt, executive director of AMHS to answer questions on behalf of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session where the community will be able to pose their questions and ideas to the presenters and the department.

As a quick refresher, HB 412 is a piece of legislation that was introduced by the House Transportation Committee to convert AMHS into a publicly owned corporation similar to the Alaska Railroad Corporation. As co-chair of the committee, my office is taking the lead on the legislation and we would love your input!

We all know how important dependable ferry service is to our coastal communities. Unfortunately, due to a constrained budget, an aging fleet, and a misalignment between labor and management, ferry service has been declining. Southeast Conference, in partnership with the state, began the Alaska Marine Highway Reform project several years ago to investigate increasing the sustainability of the system. Phase one of the project produced the recommendation to explore forming a public corporation. This business model is expected to improve many aspects of our ferry service.

I am looking forward to a very informative discussion and will provide more details in the next few weeks once we have an exact time and location for the forum.

On another note, I am starting a new practice regarding future updates to the paper. People are the bedrock of any community and whenever possible, I would like to include a human-interest piece featuring a local Cordovan. If you would like to recognize a longtime fisherman, local entrepreneur, every-day hero, or a child you are very proud of, please email my office and we will be happy to accommodate!

Our next update will focus on fisheries issues, my plans for legislation next session and, of course, our first human-interest piece.

I work for you, so please reach out to me anytime with your thoughts, concerns, or ideas.

Sincerely,

— Louise Stutes

State House Representative for District 32. Proudly Serving Kodiak, Cordova, Yakutat, and Seldovia.

  • Rep.Louise.Stutes@akleg.gov
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