A three-line piece of legislation would prohibit the state of Alaska from selling, transferring or disposing of a state ferry without express approval by lawmakers.
Cost-cutting and mechanical breakdowns have idled much of the fleet with regional service suspended until at least March.
Alaska lawmakers received an updated proposal from the Dunleavy administration to replace the Ocean Rangers with a state-run inspection regime.
Hundreds of people rallied around the state Tuesday to restore the Alaska Marine Highway System’s regional ferry service.
Aside from the ferry Lituya, which shuttles between Ketchikan and Metlakatla, the entire Alaska Marine Highway System fleet will be idle until March.
All but the Alaska Marine Highway System’s smallest ship — the shuttle ferry Lituya that runs between Ketchikan and Metlakatla — is either down for repairs or laid up to save money.
The Alaska Department of Transportation seeks ships capable of ferrying 125 passengers from Juneau to Hoonah, Angoon and Kake. The three communities aren’t scheduled to receive a state ferry until March.
The Matanuska hasn’t moved since Jan. 26 and is not likely to get underway until Feb. 7. That’s because serious mechanical problems forced the ferry to cancel the rest of its sailings in January.
Congress has appropriated funds annually over the past four years to complete the transfer.
Officials from a dozen coastal communities traveled to Juneau to voice support for Alaska’s beleaguered ferries earlier this week.