Skip to content
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 22, 2020
Press Release: 20-0066
Contact: Andy Mills, andy.mills@alaska.gov, (907) 465-8124; Admiral Tom Barrett, barrettj1233@gmail.com

Alaska Marine Highway Reshaping Work Group Final Report Released
Recommendations support stabilizing fleet, making service reliable, and options available to reduce operating costs

(JUNEAU, Alaska) – After months of information gathering and deliberations, the Alaska Marine Highway (AMH) Reshaping Work Group, formed following Governor Dunleavy’s Administrative Order No. 313, has released a final report of findings and recommendations regarding the future financing, governance, and service levels of the AMHS.

The final report and all associated documents can be found at dot.alaska.gov/comm/amh-reshaping-workgroup.

Areas addressed by the report's recommendations are:

  • 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

“I thank the members of the AMHS work group for their dedication and commitment to the future of the Alaska Marine Highway System,” said Governor Dunleavy. “I am confident that this report will assist in forging a more reliable and efficient marine highway system to serve coastal Alaska for years to come.”

Going forward, as the budgeting process unfolds in the coming months, DOT&PF will be vetting the recommendations and developing a plan that integrates with the Governor’s proposed budget, to be released in mid-December 2020. A DOT&PF presentation outlining the proposed implementation of that plan will be shared with the legislature and the public after the 32nd legislature convenes.

“The AMHS needs to provide Alaska coastal communities with reliable ferry service, while achieving efficiencies that help sustain the system for the long-term,” stated Admiral Tom Barrett, chair of the Work Group. “The reshaping work group has offered recommendations we believe can advance both of these goals and improve the system for the benefit of all Alaskans.”

The members of the Working Group included:

  • Admiral Tom Barrett (Public - Chair)
  • John Torgerson (Public)
  • Wanetta Ayers (Public)
  • Lee Ryan (Aviation)
  • Robert Venables (Marine Transportation Advisory Board - MTAB)
  • Tony Johansen (Roads & Highways)
  • Ben Goldrich (Labor)
  • Senator Bert Stedman
  • Representative Louise Stutes

AMHS is an extension of the national highway system, linking coastal Alaska communities. Due to shortfalls in oil revenues in recent years, programs such as AMHS, which rely on an annual state subsidy, necessitate cost containments and efficiencies. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted ridership and reduced revenues in 2020.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

# # #

Main Newsroom Page