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Rep. Gara to Point Out Potential $2+ Billion State Liability for “Private” Knik Arm Bridge Project; Other Flaws On Floor Today

Today, Representative Les Gara will highlight the potential for Alaska to be responsible for more than $2 billion in liability for the Knik Arm bridge project that proponents bill as a private project. 

“Until 2 years ago the state and federal officials promised the Knik Bridge would be built with private funds, and operated by a private company.  With a new Governor and new mayor in Anchorage, that has changed.  Now the state is likely on the hook for upwards of $2 billion or more in liability to the “private” developer when tolls don’t pay for the cost of construction and operation of the project,” said Rep. Gara.

Attached are documents showing:

  1. That the contractor who did KABATA’s “traffic estimates,” Wilbur Smith and Assoc., routinely overestimates traffic by over 100% to help their clients sell their projects;
  2. An analysis showing that the state likely faces $2 billion or more in liability to the “private” contractor that will build and operate this bridge because toll revenue will be minor and not cover the costs of construction and operation;
  3. Requests from UAA Professor Scott Goldsmith asking that KABATA stop misrepresenting his population estimates, which they use to overestimate the toll traffic for this bridge to the relatively unpopulated area of Knik.
  4. Evidence that KABATA is buying property from private landowners on Government Hill before knowing there will be a project.  “Destroying businesses and homes, and spending millions in state money to do that, is irresponsible when you don’t even know if you have a project.  Government Hill is Anchorage’s oldest neighborhood.”
  5. KABATA’s own studies show that if the bridge and approach roads are built, it is still quicker to travel to Palmer and Wasilla by the Glen and Parks Highway, for free, than by a bridge with a $10 - $20 toll.  This undercuts their high toll and bridge traffic estimates, as most of the Valley growth they project will be in the Palmer and Wasilla areas where travelling the bridge will not help.

Rep. Gara represents Government Hill.  Efforts to convince KABATA to build the bridge access around the neighborhood, without requiring a tunnel right underneath residences and businesses, failed when KABATA did not give serious consideration to those proposals.

For more information contact Rep. Les Gara at 465-2647 or Bob French, an engineer and President of the Government Hill Community Council, at (907) 240-1744.

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