Mayor Sullivan Calls Anchorage’s Legislative Program a ‘Resounding Success’
Anchorage projects well represented in state's capital budget
ANCHORAGE- Mayor Dan Sullivan lauded and thanked Anchorage legislators for their hard work in securing numerous capital projects for the state's largest city, as well as passing legislation critical to the city's future.
"The focus of the capital budget on infrastructure and construction is a good way to direct government money back to the private sector while giving our local economy a shot in the arm," said Mayor Sullivan. "Anchorage did very well in the capital budget and we secured funding for critical projects like roads and deferred maintenance," he added.
Key general fund projects for Anchorage include (all numbers are rounded):
• $20M toward the Port of Anchorage expansion that is critical to end the North extension of the project, and will be used to leverage federal dollars.
• Intergovernmental Data Center: The MOA sees opportunity for co-location with the Anchorage School District ($4M).
• $8.5M toward Girdwood development projects - this is the first time in many years the community has benefitted from a capital budget spend and its needs are long over-due. The MOA would like to see a portion of the funds spent on the development of a badly-needed industrial park, among other projects.
Under the category of public safety:
• Alaska Crime Lab, that will be located in Anchorage but benefit the entire state ($75M).
• The No. 1 priority for East Anchorage, Fire Station 6 was funded ($6M); as well as a renovation to Station 9 (Huffman) ($5M).
Transportation was successful with:
• $5M toward Pavement Rehabilitation - this is matching money and will result in more projects being completed.
• $5M toward Intersection Safety and Congestion Relief.
• Almost $25M toward AMATS matching projects.
• $250,000 to People Mover for transit fleet replacement.
As part of Mayor Sullivan's emphasis on Project 80s renewal:
• Loussac Library reconstruction and upgrades ($4,650,000).
• $1M for the Fairview and Spenard Rec Centers.
• Sullivan Arena ($1.6M), Dempsey Anderson ($250,000), and Ben Boeke ($300,000).
• Both Chugiak and Anchorage Senior Centers will benefit ($165,000 and $770,000, respectively).
• Many parks will receive upgrades, including Cuddy Family Park, Muldoon Community and Russian Jack Springs.
• $60M for the UAA Sports Arena. Voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on this and other education projects on the November statewide ballot.
Among the legislative highlights identified by the mayor, creating and maintaining Southcentral energy stability was Mayor Sullivan's main focus.
• He was pleased to see passage of HB 280, Representative Hawker's Cook Inlet Recovery Act that provides financial incentives for gas storage. Storage is critical to providing backup for existing railbelt utilities on extremely cold days or in the event of mechanical failures.
• Also, passage of SB 309, a bill introduced by House Speaker Mike Chenault and carried by Senator Lesil McGuire. This bill provides tax credits to stimulate new gas drilling in Cook Inlet.
The process of identifying Anchorage's legislative priorities began back in August, when the mayor and his staff met with members of the Anchorage caucus to discuss the city's needs. Local community councils and organizations also submitted their priorities. Each project was vetted for need, and scrutinized by the mayor and his executive team. A list of priority projects resulted, and a formal legislative program was submitted to and approved by the Anchorage Assembly on Jan. 12, 2010. In addition, the mayor traveled to Juneau to advocate for Anchorage projects last week. The entire budget is tentative until such time when Gov. Parnell signs Senate Bill 230 into law.