$25 Million Grant Ensures Completion of Key Terminal at Port of Alaska
Aerial view of the Port of Alaska
ANCHORAGE—The US Department of Transportation awarded a $25 million Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant to the Port of Alaska. The Municipality of Anchorage will use the funding to complete a new petroleum and cement terminal.
The Municipality broke ground on the $214 million terminal this summer with $134 million in state and federal dollars on hand, leaving $80 million needed to complete the project. “The additional $25 million solves a critical piece of the missing money problem and gives us a high degree of confidence that we will complete the new terminal in 2021,” said Municipal Manager Bill Falsey. The Anchorage Assembly will soon be reviewing a port-tariff change proposed by the Port Commission that will allow the port of Alaska to raise the remaining funds.
The timely construction of a new petroleum and cement terminal is critical for the security and economy of the entire state. Approximately 80 percent of all the cement in Alaska comes through the Port of Alaska. All of the fuel supplying JBER and 50 percent of the fuel used at Ted Stevens International Airport flow through the port. “This enhances Alaska’s resilience considerably and makes all Alaskans more secure,” said Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.
Port of Alaska staff developed and submitted the grant application for this highly competitive grant program this summer. Almost $10 billion in project applications competed for a pot of money totaling less than $1 billion. The port received letters of support from the congressional delegation, Alaska Command, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska Basic Industries, Alaska Airlines, Alaska Trucking Association, the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, the Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions organization, CIRI, North Star Terminal & Stevedore Co., The Northwest Seaport Alliance, and Olympic Tug and Barge.
Bringing the petroleum and cement terminal to completion will allow the administration to work with the congressional delegation, the State, the Anchorage Assembly, port users, and the entire community to carry forward the next phases of port modernization, including new cargo facilities.
“Our thanks go out to the Alaska congressional delegation and all the people who supported this effort. I also thank the port staff and program team who put in some long hours writing a highly competitive application. This award is a giant step towards successful completion of the Petroleum-Cement Terminal. With this success, we can start directing more attention to planning and financing new general cargo facilities,” said Port Director Steve Ribuffo.
US Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young applauded the announcement.
“The Port of Alaska—which provides the vast majority of the food, construction materials, fuel, and other vital goods that Alaskans rely on—is in danger from crumbling infrastructure,” said the Alaska delegation. “Alaskans have been sounding the alarm about the critical state of Alaska’s primary import terminal for years and, thankfully, the Trump administration and Secretary Chao have listened and are taking action to help us. This new BUILD Grant will help offset the cost of the first phase of the port’s desperately-needed modernization program. We thank Secretary Chao for the administration’s prudent investment today to help ensure that safe, cost-effective, reliable, and resilient operations at the port continue for years to come.”
In July 2019, on behalf of the Municipality of Anchorage and the Port of Alaska, the Congressional Delegation wrote Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in support of their application for BUILD Grant funding, to assist with the first phase of the Port of Alaska Modernization Program.
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.