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KABATA Annouces Payment by the Knik Arm Crossing Project of $1.2 Million to Local Stakeholders

(Anchorage, AK), August 31, 2009: The Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) announces that a Programmatic Agreement (PA) between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Native Village of Eklutna, the Knik Tribal Council, the Municipality of Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Advisory Council and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) will result in the payment of approximately $1.2 million to these various agencies to pay for potential impacts of the Knik Arm Crossing project from a perspective of Historic Preservation.

The FHWA, Alaska Division, was instrumental in participating in the section 106 process with all stakeholders and accommodating preservation objectives with this funding.  It is important to note that a host of solutions and tools for statewide preservation policy will be the end-product.  In addition, baseline information that will be developed for communities, boroughs and historic preservation can be utilized for other statewide infrastructure transportation projects.

As background, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) states, “the historical and cultural foundations of the Nation should be preserved as part of our community life and development in order to give a sense of orientation to the American people.” The purpose of this Act and specifically the section 106 process is threefold:

  • Requires Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties

  • Seeks to accommodate historic preservation concerns with the needs of the Federal Undertaking through consultation

  • Goal is to identify historic properties potentially affected, assess the effects and seeks ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate any adverse effects on historic properties

Washington, D.C., lead Advisory Council on Historic Preservation representative, Charlene Dwin Vaughn assisted in a consultation process with all stakeholders.  The KABATA team was pleased to have Ms. Dwin Vaughn’s level of expertise focused on Alaska and greatly appreciates her help in bringing all stakeholders together. 

Alaska’s State Historic Preservation Officer, Judy Bittner participated throughout the consultation process and assisted with community and state-wide historic preservation issues and consensus management.

Andrew Niemiec, executive director of KABATA stated, “This is an important milestone which moves the project a step closer to construction.  We have gone through an exhaustive and cooperative process to complete the PA and provide payments as required by the Memorandums of Understanding. I look forward to a continued relationship with these stakeholders to build this project for the benefit of Alaskans.”

The PA outlines the procedures for Section 106 reviews required for future, unforeseen adverse effects through the development of Standard Mitigation Agreements (SMAs) developed among FHWA, KABATA, the SHPO, and other consulting parties in accordance with accepted Federal practices called for under the Section 106 process.

Actual Financial Commitment Allocation:

Matanuska-Susitna Borough                                       $310,910

Native Village of Eklutna                                               $107,637

Knik tribal Council                                                            $107,637

State Historic Preservation Office                             $120,976

Municipality of Anchorage                                           $522,000

Michael Foster, KABATA Board Chairman stated, “The payment of approximately $1.2 million to the key section 106 stakeholders in our project demonstrates the level of commitment we place on accomplishing the Knik Arm Crossing project in an innovative, reasonable, sustainable and beneficial manner with minimal impact to the communities and environment.”

About KABATA

The Alaska Legislature established the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority in 2003 under Alaska Statute 19.75 to “develop, stimulate, and advance the economic welfare of the state and further the development of public transportation systems in the vicinity of Upper Cook Inlet with construction of a bridge to span Knik Arm and connect the Municipality of Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.” Additional information about KABATA and the Knik Arm Crossing Project can be found on KABATA’s website at www.knikarmbridge.com.

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