March 10, 2021 (Juneau, AK) – Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy today introduced legislation to revitalize the Alaska Marine Highway board following recommendations from the 2020 Alaska Marine Highway Reshaping Report. The legislation (HB 134) aims to repeal the Alaska Marine Transportation Advisory Board and establish the Alaska Marine Highway Systems Operation and Planning Board.
“As we continue efforts to restructure and modernize the Alaska Marine Highway System, it is imperative the long-term operations and finances are addressed,” said Governor Dunleavy. “Our goal remains the same, to create a more reliable and efficient marine highway system to serve coastal Alaska for years to come.”
The Alaska Marine Highway Systems Operation and Planning Board created in HB 134 would consist of members serving staggered terms and require a short and long-term operations plan to be provided to the governor, legislature, and the public. The short-term reports will address Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) financial information, cost savings and strategies, scheduling, maintenance, regulatory compliance and other matters. Additionally, the long-term plans will cover objectives, planning assumptions, fleet planning, and a timeline for major operations milestones.
Governor Dunleavy began the process of reshaping and revitalizing AMHS in January 2020, signing Administrative Order No. 313 establishing the Alaska Marine Highway Reshaping Work Group. In February 2020, the governor announced Work Group members. The Work Group released the report of findings and recommendations in October 2020, including:
- Repeal and Replacement of Marine Transportation Advisory Board
- Strengthening AMHS Governance
- Strengthening Governance Support
- Improving System Reliability
- Stabilizing Budget Planning
- Reducing System Costs
- Renegotiation of Marine Union Labor Agreements
- Increasing System Revenue
- Leveraging Road Infrastructure