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Anchorage mayor looks for millions in port money

By Emily Carlson 10:07 AM February 19, 2014

Sullivan makes his case as to why lawmakers should give the project $250 million of state money to help finish the project.

ANCHORAGE - Hoping to secure millions in state money for the troubled Port of Anchorage, Mayor Dan Sullivan tried to convince lawmakers why the money is vital to the entire state of Alaska on Tuesday.

The mayor told lawmakers that 90 percent of the goods you eat, drive and use every day go through the Port of Anchorage.

The aging port needs updates, but expansion efforts stopped in 2009 and costs have skyrocketed from an estimated $200 million to $1 billion.

Sullivan made his case as to why lawmakers should give the project $250 million of state money to help finish the project.

A large part of that price tag will go to making sure the port holds up in the event of a big earthquake, he said.

“We are very concerned if there was a major seismic event similar to 1964, back when the port was new it withstood just fine, but now pretty much all the experts have concerns,” Sullivan said in Juneau. “And the people that use the port have said that even though there’s other ports, trucks up the ALCAN and stuff, any major damage to the port would be catastrophic.”

The mayor recently announced that engineering firm CH2M Hill will be the new project managers for the expansion project.

The contract is worth $30 million over five years.

The Anchorage Assembly is expected to approve the contract at its next meeting.

Joe Vigil contributed reporting. 

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