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MSB and AIDEA Sign MOU on West Susitna Access

Oct 29, 2019 | Featured, Government, News, Transportation

West Susitna Access

Looking east from west side of the Little Su River.

Stefan Hinman | Mat-Su Borough

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that provides a partnership framework for a phased feasibility analysis of the West Susitna Access. The MOU states.

“The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to clarify rights, roles, responsibilities, and expectations of each Party for the phased feasibility analysis, due diligence and development of the West Susitna Access Road.”

AIDEA was established in 1967 by the Alaska Legislature to promote economic growth and diversification in the state by providing various means of financing and investment.

Currently, there is only limited winter access to the Fish Creek Natural Resource Management Unit, which lies west of the Little Susitna River near Big Lake. The Mat-Su Borough’s plans to permit and construct an all-season road and bridge up to and over the Little Susitna River will give access to largely untapped natural resources in the Fish Creek Natural Resource Management Unit.

Aerial footage of West Susitna Access

Mat-Su Borough (YouTube)

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Borough Manager John Moosey, sees opportunities are not limited to just natural resource development. “I am very pleased to be partnering with AIDEA on this project to unlock the remaining one-third of the Mat Valley for our residents,” said Moosey.  “Job creation, enjoyment of our natural beauty and recreational prospects abound. It is imperative that we work with private partners to secure these great opportunities.”

There will be multiple phases to the project with a budget for each phase to be agreed upon by all parties before any phase is initiated. Phase I of the project includes a maximum budget of $200,000 of combined contributions from all parties and divided up in thirds. The Mat-Su Borough and AIDEA will provide $50,000 each with the remaining contribution of up to $100,000 provided by third party partners who have a vested interest in the area; however, none of the funds will become available until all $200,000 is in the account. The MOU further states:

“No funds will be disbursed from the designated project account, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the Parties, until a full balance of $200,000 is achieved.”

Little Su River looking west.

Stefan Hinman | Mat-Su Borough

West side of the Little Su River looking west—about twelve miles to Susitna River (about 200,000 acres of public land between Little Su and Susitna River, over 3 million on west side of Susitna).

Stefan Hinman | Mat-Su Borough

1.7 miles to Little Su River, looking west.

Stefan Hinman | Mat-Su Borough

Approaching Little Su River on east side.

Stefan Hinman | Mat-Su Borough

Governor Dunleavy has taken notice and understands the enormous value this project brings to future generations of Alaskans, making this MOU an important step.

“The West Susitna Access plan is just one more example of how Alaska is prioritizing resource development and making Alaska open for business again,” said Dunleavy. “A new road across the Susitna Valley will deliver Alaskans and the state’s economy to many new opportunities. Natural gas, mining, timber, recreation, and putting state land in the hands of Alaskans are just a few of the benefits that will happen when the road is built.”

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