The Sterling Highway is seen June 14, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file)

The Sterling Highway is seen June 14, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file)

Kenai, Soldotna endorse bus pilot program

The Kenaitze Indian Tribe is working to expand public transportation on the central Kenai Peninsula.

The cities of Kenai and Soldotna support efforts by the Kenaitze Indian Tribe to expand public transportation on the central Kenai Peninsula. The tribe is submitting a grant application to the Federal Transit Administration for money to be used for a two-year bus pilot program.

According to information provided by the Kenaitze Indian Tribe to the Kenai City Council, if approved, two routes would run along three of the central peninsula’s major traffic corridors, serving the communities of Sterling, Soldotna, Kenai and Nikiski. The service would be available to everyone in the community, not just members of the tribe. Service would be provided Monday through Saturday with “key stops” indicated by reflective bus stop signs branded by Kenaitze and affixed below street markers on existing signposts.

“Rural regions nationwide already know that reliable, affordable, and accessible systems of public transit are integral to a healthy community and economy,” information attributed to the Kenaitze Indian Tribe says.

The first route would be a “Nikiski” route and would run from Nikiski through the City of Kenai along the Kenai Spur Highway to the City of Soldotna and return along the northern section of Kalifornsky Beach Road through Kenai back to Nikiski.

The second route would be a “Sterling” route that would run from Sterling through Soldotna to Kenai along the Sterling and Kenai Spur highways and return eastbound along Kalifornsky Beach Road through Soldotna back to Sterling.

“A dependable, fixed-route bus service would enable riders to save money on the major segments of their trips, and arrange transportation to/from the bus stop using existing service providers, such as CARTS or Alaska Cab, to take them to their final destinations,” a supportive resolution passed by the Soldotna City Council earlier this month says.

In the letter from Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Gabriel voiced his strong support for the project.

“I strongly support the efforts of Kenaitze Indian Tribe to expand and enhance the availability of affordable public transit options not only for the region’s Alaska Native and Tribal citizenry, but for the many low-income, disabled, and other community members who continue to encounter access barriers to education, commerce, and employment because of a lack of connectivity to regional resources,” Gabriel wrote. “In the event this project is selected for funding, the City of Kenai is committed to meeting with the Tribe’s leadership to develop a more durable Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or similar agreement that expresses our respective contributions to the success of this fixed-route service pilot.”

The letter can be found on the City of Kenai’s website at kenai.city.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Assembly President Brent Johnson asks questions of representatives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during a joint work session of the School Board and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to enter contract for asbestos flooring abatement in 3 central peninsula schools

The work will be done at Kenai Central High, Kenai Alternative High and Sterling Elementary schools

Alaska State Troopers logo.
1 dead, 3 missing after boat capsizes near Seward

Alaska State Troopers were notified by the U.S. Coast Guard of an overturned vessel around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday

Kenai Central High School stands under clear skies in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough approves contract for KCHS parking lot rehabilitation

Soldotna-based Foster Construction will be awarded the bid of $648,997 to complete the project

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital to host Cancer Survivor’s Day event

The event will take place Sunday, June 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to the joint Soldotna and Kenai chambers of commerce at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Carpenter gives wrap up on session as he nears end of House term

Carpenter is seeking election to state Senate District D

(from left to right) Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Photo provided by Mattea Peters-Williamson
Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee adjourns

The committee will deliver recommendations to school board in July

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out corroded insulation outside of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Soldotna . (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elementary awaits action on approved bond

Almost two years after public OKs bond, borough asking for more time

Most Read