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SCS HJR 42(RLS): Relating to regulation of water carriers serving Alaska.

00 SENATE CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 42(RLS)                                                                        
01 Relating to regulation of water carriers serving Alaska.                                                                
02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                               
03  WHEREAS the federal government is considering legislation that would repeal the                                        
04 existing authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate water carriers                                     
05 transporting property between the 48 contiguous states and Alaska; and                                                  
06  WHEREAS Alaska is uniquely dependent on water transportation in that virtually                                         
07 everything that Alaskans eat, drink, wear, or use comes into the state by ship or barge; and                            
08  WHEREAS the deep water transport market serving the Alaska Railbelt is a classic                                       
09 duopoly situation in that two water carriers provide the vital service of transporting at least                         
10 75 percent of all goods shipped for 80 percent of the state's residents; and                                            
11  WHEREAS, in a duopoly situation, the service providers have an obligation to their                                     
12 customers to operate with the highest degree of fairness and disclosure; and                                            
13  WHEREAS the freight system by which Alaskans receive vital cargo should treat all                                      
14 customers fairly by guaranteeing equal access to competitive rates; and                                                 
01  WHEREAS the citizens of Alaska, recognizing that their interests may best be served                                    
02 by allowing market forces to determine the cost of bringing vital goods to the state so far as                          
03 possible, continue to have concerns about the cost of shipping goods to Alaska; and                                     
04  WHEREAS the citizens of Alaska have also expressed their desire to preserve the                                        
05 essential elements of the current system of regulating water carriers serving Alaska; and                               
06  WHEREAS, if the Interstate Commerce Commission is abolished and if there is no                                         
07 other forum for shipper complaints, the citizens of the state may have no place to present and                          
08 resolve complaints about water carriers serving Alaska other than in court; and                                         
09  WHEREAS the federal government has historically had a role in water transportation                                     
10 to Alaska through the Interstate Commerce Commission; and                                                               
11  WHEREAS the federal government is considering whether to transfer some functions                                       
12 of the Interstate Commerce Commission to the United States Department of Transportation;                                
13 and                                                                                                                     
14  WHEREAS the Interstate Commerce Commission has recommended that the                                                    
15 regulation of all domestic offshore water carriage be handled by the Federal Maritime                                   
16 Commission, which may also be abolished; and                                                                            
17  WHEREAS regulatory functions of the Interstate Commerce Commission relating to                                         
18 domestic offshore water carriage could be performed by other existing federal entities if the                           
19 Interstate Commerce Commission is abolished in order to save federal taxpayer money; and                                
20  WHEREAS three primary interests of Alaskans if such abolishment occurs are to                                          
21 ensure that rates for carriage to Alaska are fair and competitive, to ensure that carriage service                      
22 to Alaska is dependable, and to ensure that an accessible forum exists in which Alaskans can                            
23 present and resolve complaints;                                                                                         
24  BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests that the                                        
25 Governor and members of the Alaska delegation in the United States Congress support the                                 
26 preservation of the essential regulatory functions of the Interstate Commerce Commission                                
27 pertaining to domestic offshore water carriage that serve the best interests of Alaska's                                
28 consumers while providing an acceptable rate of return to the carriers which serve the Alaska                           
29 market by transferring such regulatory functions to the United States Department of                                     
30 Transportation, if and when necessary.                                                                                  
31  COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Bill Clinton, President of the                                
01 United States; the Honorable Al Gore, Jr., Vice-President of the United States and President                            
02 of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Strom Thurmond, President Pro Tempore of the U.S.                                     
03 Senate; the Honorable Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; to the                               
04 Honorable Ted Stevens and the Honorable Frank Murkowski, U.S. Senators, and the                                         
05 Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress.