Walker Names Transportation Commissioner

There’s a new boss at the state agency overseeing, roads, airports and ferries.

Gov. Bill Walker on Friday named Marc Luiken as his commissioner of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

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Luiken served in the same post from 2010 to 2012 under Gov. Sean Parnell. He’s a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who also worked on oil production with ConocoPhillips.

Walker says he liked Luiken’s approach the last time he was commissioner.

“He has somewhat of a shared vision I have, as far as what can be done in the Department of Transportation,” Walker said. “I think there’s some more efficiencies we can do, do things differently than they’ve been done over the past.”

Walker removed acting Commissioner Pat Kemp, a Parnell administration holdover, from the post January 12th.

Kemp and two other officials were told to resign after they released a report Walker said criticized his freeze of transportation megaprojects, including the Juneau Access Road.

Kemp said it was an informational report, not a challenge.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.