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Senators unveil $1.9 billion capital budget proposal

By Rhonda McBride 10:15 AM April 7, 2014
JUNEAU –

The Senate Finance Committee rolled out a  $1.9 billion capital budget on Monday morning; a decrease of about $2.2 million from last year.

Overall, the budget focuses on deferred maintenance and completion of existing projects. Throughout the session, lawmakers have expressed reluctance to spend money on new projects.

But the budget did include $10 million for the Susitna-Watana hydro project. Gov. Sean Parnell had asked for $42.7 million, but said the balance was contingent on a land access deal between the Alaska Energy Authority and the CIRI Alaska Native corporation. An agreement has been reached, but focus on a liquefied natural gas project may push the dam to the back burner.

Another big-ticket item not included yet in the budget, but likely to be added later, is a new power plant for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The cost for this project is estimated at $245 million. It’s not clear how much of this the university will receive.

Once the Senate approves the capital budget, the House will take a crack at it and will likely add some items into it. Then the two bodies will meet to merge their spending plans.

In a breakdown by districts, the capital budget spends about $212 million in Anchorage, $146 million for the Mat-Su, $85 million for Juneau and $32 million for Fairbanks.

Some of the big ticket items for Anchorage and Mat-Su area:

  • $45.6 million, UAA Engineering Building
  • $12 million, UAA campus deferred maintenance
  • $11 million, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, rail extension to Port MacKenzie
  • $8 million, Loussac Library
  • $7 million, Blood Bank of Alaska, facilities and services expansion
  • $5 million, Matanuksa-Susitna Borough, Bogard Road extension
  • $5 million, Akeela Development Corporation, public inebriate anti-recidivism treatment program
  • $5 million, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Alaska Gallery redesign and rennovation
  • $4.2 million, UAA deferred maintenance
  • $4.1 million, Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility
  • $2 million, Houston Fire Station and equipment
  • $2 million, Fairbanks Northstar Borough, heating device air quality mitigation
  • $1 million, Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis, expansion

A sampling of capital project spending elsewhere around Alaska:

  • $51.5 million, Village Safe Water
  • $37.5 million, State Library and Museum Project
  • $31.5 million, Kwethluk K-12 replacement school
  • $18 million, Kwigillingok Airport
  • $17 million, Seward Airport
  • $11.6 million, St. Mary’s School District, Andreafski High School gym construction
  • $11.9 million, U.S. Army Guard, deferred maintenance
  • $10 million, U.S. Army Guard Construction, contingency
  • $5.5 million, Northwest Arctic Borough, high school residential program and Northwest Magnet School
  • $5 million, Alaska Digital Teaching Initiative, three-year demonstration project
  • $5 million, Department of Corrections, deferred maintenance and repairs
  • $3.3 million, Southeast Alaska Power Agency, Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project Reservoir
  • $3 million, Nome, port improvements
  • $1.7 million, Mt. Edgecumbe High School, deferred maintenance
  • $1.3 million, Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association, Pillar Creek Hatchery upgrades
  • $1 million, Ted Stevens Foundation, preservation of historic materials

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