A Southeast lawmaker wants communities to be able to contribute directly to the Alaska Marine Highway System.
Rep. Sam Kito III, a Juneau Democrat, authored House Bill 292. It had its first hearing last week in the House Transportation Committee.
He called it a simple, one-line bill that could help the financially-strapped ferry system.
“The intent is not that it goes back into a specific community, but that that money go into general pot to be used for the betterment of the marine highway system in some way,” said Kito.
That could be increased marketing or another effort.
Committee member Shelley Hughes, a Palmer Republican, asked whether the bill would exclude communities that don’t contribute.
Kito said it wouldn’t. And he said his legislation isn’t just about money.
“I see it more as a tool to bring the communities more to the table with the Department of Transportation, get them talking,” Kito said. “Maybe even formally over some kind of a memorandum of understanding or memorandum of agreement, that you become engaged as a shareholder in the marine highway system.”
The bill remains in the House Transportation Committee and is not expected to progress this session.