Juneau, state projects awaiting review by Parnell

The capital budget passed by the Alaska Legislature and awaiting transmittal to Gov. Sean Parnell for his signature — or possible vetoes — officially totals $3.18 billion.

Some, however, say the sum is actually about $4 billion when additional money for an in-state natural gas pipeline and scholarships is included.

For Juneau, the budget contains $77.5 million in specific projects, as well as additional money for the region or state that was also a high priority for the Juneau legislative delegation.

“If you go through the projects, there’s a lot of benefits for Juneau, there’s some great harbor projects, including the cruise ship dock project and DeHart’s Marina,” said Rep. Cathy Muñoz, R-Juneau.

The city’s cruise ship dock project downtown will get $7.5 million, while DeHart’s, now owned by the city, is in line for $5 million to replace failing docks there, she said.

In addition to big projects such as the $17 million Brotherhood Bridge replacement and numerous small grants to community groups, there are also regional projects such as the $10 million Southeast Energy Fund.

That’s a small amount compared to big energy projects in Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka in recent years that cost tens of millions each, said Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau.

But it can go far in neighboring communities were people are hurt and business development is hampered by a reliance on diesel fuel for electrical generation, he said.

The delegation also got funding for the Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Southeast Alaska Native Cultural & Visitor Center downtown on the former Skinner Building site.

Sealaska expects the project to cost $16 million, of which the state money would just be a part, Muñoz said.

“That’s the end of the state money they are requesting, they are going out to foundations” for additional support, she said.

After the Legislature formally transmits the budget to Parnell, he’ll then have 20 days to sign it our use his line-item veto to remove or reduce dollar amounts in it.

Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, predicted “deep” vetoes, but said she hoped that she and other members of the Juneau delegation, as well as community members, had made strong cases for the projects they supported.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or at patrick.forgey@juenauempire.com.


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