Sealaska Supports Continuation of AMHS Service

One of the top Sealaska policy priorities for this year is continued AMHS funding and services for our communities

Sealaska is one of four Alaska Native Regional Corporations who are standing together in support of continuation of service to communities by the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS).

Leaders from Koniag, Chugach Alaska Corporation, the Aleut Corporation and Sealaska issued a letter to State leaders. The group letter reinforces that the AMHS is a critical part of the infrastructure for 28 communities not connected to the Alaska State road system. Sealaska has supported and prioritized ferry service in conversations with policy makers for years, and this letter is just one of many actions and efforts leadership takes to protect critical service to our communities. Click here to read full letter.

“One of the top Sealaska policy priorities for this year is continued AMHS funding and services for our communities,” said Jaeleen Kookesh, Sealaska V.P., Policy & Legal Affairs. “The AMHS is critical to the sustainability of our communities.”

On April 11, 2019, the Alaska House of Representatives moved H.B. 39 to the Senate, which is the operating budget bill that includes about $200 million in cuts.

The House of Representatives outlined details of H.B.39, which can be viewed here. One highlight is that the House rejected the governor’s plan to end Alaska Marine Highway ferry service, scheduled for October 1, 2019. The House Bill includes a $14.5 million reduction to the Department of Transportation budget, with the largest single line-item reduction being a $10 million cut to the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Southeast Conference serves as the collective voice for advancing the region’s economy for its 180 member organizations including Sealaska. Southeast Conference issued “The Value of Alaska’s Marine Highway” handout. It includes 25 stories on the value of the ferry system. View “The Value of Alaska’s Marine Highway in 25 Stories.”

The budget is now in the Senate. You can email your comments to the Senate Finance committee at finance.committee@akleg.gov.

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