Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The Alaska house transportation committee voted 5-2 to draft legislation to create an Alaska Marine Highway corporation.
The committee majority predicted it would help the ferry system become more consistent, and perhaps more self sustaining financially.
Rep. Chuck Kopp said a private board brings a lot of expertise in business to the table, "I can't overstate how enthusiastic I am of this process going forward. Just the idea of professional board expertise versus trying to get 60 legislators up to speed on teh complex issues of the Marine highway system. Imagine if we were trying to run the Anchorage International airport as a legislature. It would be a disaster."
Kopp predicted the corporation could lower costs as they negotiate with unionized workers directly.
Committee Chairwoman Louise Stutes says politics often plays a role in how the ferry system is operated, "The huge benefit that I see is a static board as opposed to a turnover or a potential turnover of a commissioner every four years. It greatly affects the stability of those agencies and the ability of them to continue down the same line."
Rep. Matt Claman says late budgets often tie the hands of the Marine highway system, "I think its a very positive step. We've seen in the past few years that the Marine highway system is hamstrung on ways to maximize revenue because they wait for us to approve a budget. They can't even put out a schedule out in advance of the tourist season so they can get as much revenue coming into the system as reasonably possible."
More from News of the North
Wanted woman possessed heroin
Ketchikan, Alaska (KINY) A Ketchikan woman wanted for violation of conditions of release faces new charges after drugs were found on her, police said.
Lady Falcons Smash North Pole in Home Opener
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Junior Charlee Lewis led the Lady Falcons with 14 points; she was 6-8 from the line.
JPD Reports Receiving 'Hoax' Bomb Threats
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - These threats appear to be a hoax that has been going around the country today.
Chad Bentz Named to Alaska Sports Hall of Fame
Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) - Chad Bentz of Juneau and two-time Olympic bronze medal-winning trap shooter Corey Cogdell-Unrein of Eagle River will headline the Class of 2019 into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
CBJ has big decisions in 2019
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Mayor Beth Weldon spoke about the future and Assembly goals for 2019 during a speech to the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce Thursday.
Vehicle Collides with Light Pole at Yandukin Near Egan Drive
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau Police Department is asking drivers to slow down on city streets.
Gov. Dunleavy Meets with President Trump, Newly-elected Governors
Washington, D.C. (KINY) - Dunleavy also met with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The two spoke about the process underway to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Crime down 12% in Juneau
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau's crime rate for the year is down according to preliminary figures.
NOAA issues fisheries of the United States report
Washington, DC (KINY) Fishing and seafood consumption increased in 2017.
Humpback whales linger in Sitka Sound
Sitka, Alaska (KINY) University of Alaska Southeast researchers, alumni and supporters of the university were in search of humpback whales during a recent tour.
Alaska Airlines to help JAHC
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The Airline will also help with the effort to build the new Juneau Arts and Culture Center.
Police seek wanted man
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) William Moy Junior, 25, is on the loose after the court released him to attend an appointment and he didn't return to jail.