Report recommends improvements for ferry system

Insulating the state ferry system from annual political battles is one of the biggest things the lawmakers can do to improve its operating efficiencies, according to a draft report released Sept. 13.

The Alaska Marine Highway System Reform Initiative draft report highlights the potential benefits the system could obtain from being converted into a public corporation as well as being forward funded by the state Legislature.

In May 2016, Gov. Bill Walker signed a memorandum of understanding with the Southeast Conference to have the Southeast Alaska nonprofit economic development group lead an examination of what reforms the state can take to improve the system’s operations over the long-term.

In recent years, as the State of Alaska has tried to reconcile annual and ongoing multibillion-dollar budget deficits, the AMHS has been caught in the middle of tense political battles.

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