AMHS Doing a Service and Helping Move Some Big Rigs for the Military - P.O.W. Report

Friday, February 23, 2018

AMHS Doing a Service and Helping Move Some Big Rigs for the Military

The Alaska Marine Highway earlier this week helped transport some heavy military vehicles for a purported Joint Air Force and National Guard week long exercise!

Photos are courtesy of Daniel Christensen: 

The Alaska Marine Highway not only employs approximately 1,100 people but has also been the lifeblood of Southeast, Alaska for decades--providing transportation to many small towns in the region. Last week, Southeast Conference had a meeting regarding AMHS and discussed legislation that would continue to help fund this vital service to Alaska.

Juneau Empire:
During a breakout session at the Southeast Conference’s Mid-Session Summit on Wednesday [February 14, 2018], the AMHS Reform Steering Committee met and looked at the next steps in its process.


The plan for reforming the ferry system, which has suffered from budget cuts in recent years, is to turn it into a public corporation instead of part of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. It’s based generally on the way the Alaska Railroad is run.

A key part of doing this would be to secure “forward funding” for the ferry system, meaning that the AMHS could plan its budgets 18-24 months ahead of time instead of trying to set a schedule without knowing exactly what the budget will be.


Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau, said in September that he would draft a bill to get increased funding for the ferry system. At Wednesday’s meeting, Kito gave an update on his progress. The bill should be ready “any day,” Kito said, adding that it sets the table for reforming the ferry system.

“We think we’ve got something that actually will create a very sustainable marine highway system,” Kito said. “It’s definitely going to be the starting point. The reason that we didn’t want to start pushing too far out is we didn’t want people wrapped around the axle on specific details that could be controversial.”

One of the items outlined in the bill is the appointment of a board comprised of members with “expertise” in the ferry system. They would have to have specific affiliations, such as the shipping industry or a background in large marine vessels. Susan Bell, principal at the McDowell Group, said this board is a vital part of the possible future of the corporation. It will require more thought, she said, to determine how exactly to organize the board.

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