Phase One of the AMHS Strategic Operational and Business Plan was developed by Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) and McDowell Group. The study identified alternative governance structures that could help the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) achieve financial sustainability. This statewide effort was managed by Southeast Conference and guided by a 12- member steering committee of stakeholders from across Alaska.
Project tasks included a high-level examination of six basic ferry governance models to assess their suitability for Alaska’s unique geography, markets, and transportation needs. More detailed case studies were conducted with three ferry systems to identify ideas and lessons applicable to AMHS: British Columbia Ferry System, Steamship Authority (Massachusetts), and CalMac Ferries (Scotland). The study also included review of relevant AMHS reports and interviews with key AMHS contacts including senior management and union representatives.
The project incorporated extensive public involvement including convening a Statewide Marine Transportation Summit, solicitation of feedback through the project website, outreach to municipal governments and trade organizations throughout Alaska, and a presentation and discussion at Southeast Conference Annual Meeting.