At its work session Thursday night, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly received its annual report from Mark Hickey, the borough’s lobbyist to the state legislature.
One of the main topics of discussion was the Alaska Marine Highway System Reform Project, which is an effort by the South East Conference and the State of Alaska to revitalize the highway.
Currently, legislation is being crafted to make the marine highway a public corporation, which would change it from being directly managed by the Alaska Department of Transportation.
Hickey told the assembly if the marine highway became a public corporation, it may focus on more profitable routes. He doesn’t foresee this being a problem for the city of Kodiak, but it could negatively affect the borough’s smaller communities.
“ The Ouzinkies, and the chain, and the smaller communities, the Seldovias. You know this is their transportation system. That’s why we started it.”
Hickey said the assembly may want to suggest safeguards be established to protect vulnerable communities. The current draft of the proposal is open for public comment until October 6th and Hickey expects to see it introduced to the state legislature in January.