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House Approves Kabata Procurement Aid Bill

Wednesday, April 11, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – The Knik Arm Bridge And Toll Authority (KABATA) is closer to securing aid from the state to help it secure the best terms possible in developing the Knik Arm Crossing bridge project to link Anchorage and the Susitna Valley.

Rep. Mark Neuman’s House Bill 158 would help KABATA’s procurement process in three main ways:

  • Increasing by $100 million the amount a private entity can bond (from $500 million to $600 million), which matches the amount allocated to the project in federal Private Activity Bonds (PABs). The change provides better value to the private entity that finances the project and to the state.
  • Clarifying the property tax exemptions, saying that the bridge and connectors are not subject to property taxes, like every other state road and bridge.
  • Establishing a project reserve fund of $150 million, serving to keep tolls affordable upon project completion while toll revenues are not expected to cover start-up operations costs. The funds would be repaid to the state by the private developer once revenues outpace costs.

“The Knik Arm Crossing is a vital infrastructure project that will open up the lower Susitna Valley and help all of communities,” Neuman, R-Su-Valley, said. “It’s about expansion opportunities for families and businesses. It’s also about seeing the project move forward as efficiently and effectively as possible. We want to pass the bill this session to help them keep on target to secure their process of opening for traffic in 2015.”

KABATA was created by the legislature in 2003 to facilitate the building of the Knik Arm Crossing and were consulted on the bill.

HB 158 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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