A bill advancing the proposed Knik Arm bridge project passed the House by a 28-10 vote Friday. The bill also passed the Senate 14-4.
The amended bill, put together by a conference committee, included multiple changes, according to Big Lake Rep. Mark Neuman. The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is now authorized to apply for a federal loan to fund the project, he said, and the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) is no longer authorized to incur debt, issue bonds, exercise eminent domain or perform a variety of studies or permitting activities.
Neuman said the state transportation department is required to transfer control of the multimillion-dollar project to KABATA upon completion. The toll authority was established by the Legislature more than 10 years ago to pursue development of the bridge.
“The motto is, ‘If you build it, they will come,’” Neuman said in a written statement. “We’re going to build it, our communities are going to grow and Alaska as a whole will benefit.”