Conference will consider future of Alaska Marine Highway System

Some of the top tribal, state and municipal and business leaders in Southeast will gather in Haines this week for a conference that may decide the course of the Alaska Marine Highway System.

The annual meeting of Southeast Conference takes place this week, and among the items on its agenda is a draft plan to change the way the system operates. The draft is the product of an agreement between the state and Southeast Conference to plan the future of the ferry system.

Released Sept. 12, the draft recommends spinning off the ferry system into a public corporation like the Alaska Railroad or the Alaska Mental Health Trust.

The report also concludes that the ferry system will never be able to support itself with fares alone.

“Regardless of the fleet size and mix or governance structure, the AMHS will always require some level of general fund support,” the report states.

The conference starts Tuesday and runs through Thursday. The ferry system discussion will take place starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Workforce development, energy, health care, mining, timber and economic development are also on the agenda for discussion. Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott will be a keynote speaker on the third day of the conference.

Several state legislators are also expected to attend and speak at the event, and Rain Coast Data will present a report summarizing the region’s economic health.

Southeast Conference is the regional organization that lobbies for Southeast Alaska interests and serves as a network for municipalities, Native tribes and corporations, civic organizations and other groups.

• Contact reporter James Brooks at or call 523-2258.

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Aug. 7

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Ice fog, a phrase in Russell Tabbert’s Dictionary of Alaskan English, is not uttered in many other places because to form it takes a sustained temperature of minus 35 F. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Alaska lexicon sinks in over the years

When my little Ford pickup chugged into Alaska 36 years ago this… Continue reading

Mimi Israelah, center, cheers for Donald Trump inside the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska, during a rally Saturday July 9, 2022. Two Anchorage police officers violated department policy during a traffic stop last month when Israelah, in town for a rally by former President Donald Trump showed a "white privilege card" instead of a driver's license and was not ticketed. (Bill Roth / Anchorage Daily News)
Alaska officers violated policy in ‘white privilege’ stop

It’s unclear what policy was violated or what disciplinary actions the two officers faced.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Capital City Fire/Rescue vehicles form a line at Juneau International Airport for a drill. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Women arrested after Monday morning structure fire

Arrest does not appear related to two other recent fires, per fire marshal.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Keke Tian Ke is the featured artist for the month of August at the Juneau Artists Gallery. Her new works on display are an exploration of the landscapes and natural wonders Juneau has to offer. She’ll be at the First Friday event on Aug. 5 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on the ground floor of the Senate Building, 175 South Franklin.
Here’s what’s happening for First Friday

Keke Tian Ke featured artist for August at Juneau Artists Gallery

Select North Douglas residents are expected to experience an emergency water line shut down Thursday.
Some North Douglas residents set to experience emergency water line shutdown Thursday

The line shut down will occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday.

Most Read