Municipality settles with 3 more companies in Port of Anchorage lawsuits
A municipal attorney says Anchorage has taken a major step forward, settling with the last three of the seven companies involved in the failed Port of Anchorage expansion project.
Robert Owens says what happens to the port happens to Alaskans, because 85 percent of the goods sold in southcentral and western Alaska come through the Port of Anchorage. But the port is in bad shape. An assessment’s findings — filling three large binders — details the roughly $329 million in damages, and includes images of one of the biggest issues, the sheet pilings.
“They are not stable where they’re sitting and we’re gonna have to tear them out,” Owens explained.
There are two lawsuits: one filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. against the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, the agency in charge of the project, and another filed in Alaska against the seven contracting and design companies, all of which have now settled.
Owens said the municipality has recovered about $19,350,000 from the Alaska suit.
“Am I disappointed? Would I liked to have recovered more? Certainly,” he said, but explained, “There were a lot of factors that went into the decisions which fundamentally came out to be business decisions to minimize cost and risk and resolve this case and turn our attention to the federal government.”
He said now they’re focused and ready for what they hope will be their biggest payout.
“I’m not suggesting it’ll be an easier case, we are up against the United States government,” he said.
The funds they recover go into the municipality’s general fund. The plan is to use that money for the port, but the Assembly will get to decide how, when and what to spend it on.
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has said it will take $290 million to finish the port expansion. He asked lawmakers for $250 million last year to finish the port, but they said no. His office said Tuesday that he is asking for the same amount again this year.
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