Juneau’s Docks and Harbors Board passed $3.09 million in fiscal year 2013 spending from state and city marine passenger fees Thursday evening.
Juneau receives $13 for every passenger that visits the city.
Five dollars per passenger comes from Alaska’s cruise ship head tax, passed by a citizens’ initiative in 2008 and revised in 2010. The money can be used for infrastructure improvements. Juneau also has its own head tax of $8 per passenger, passed in 1999. Combined, these taxes brought in more than $12 million in 2011.
The money will go for recurring annual projects such as year-round maintenance and monitoring of Marine Park, pedestrian access along waterfront and public docks, public parking at Steamship Wharf Plaza and visitor’s center lot and provide port security.
The Port-Customs Building will have a new $105,000 ongoing maintenance fund and the Downtown Juneau Visitor’s Center will receive $28,500 for the same purpose. Half a million dollars will go to maintaining and repairing the Downtown Parking Facility. $800,000 will go to start work on a $5 million Passenger for Hire facility located where DeHart’s Marina now stands. The project includes installation of a boarding float, gangway and passenger loading zone to service cruise ship passengers. The funding package also included $500,000 for a new restroom facility near the visitor’s center.
These projects are added to projects passed by the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly in April.
Chip Thoma, president of Responsible Cruising in Alaska, said he was pleased with the projects.
“These are kind of the things that they have to get done for the rest of the year,” Thoma said. “Let’s carve some directions here, let’s get some things paid off.”
2011 was the biggest year for marine head tax with a total of $19 million, Thoma said, with $7.5 million coming from funds that had been previously appropriated for a cruise ship dock. If Juneau keeps seeing current levels of passengers, Thoma said, the city can rely on $12 million a year.
Don Etheridge, Docks and Harbors board member, said it is now up to the Assembly to approve of the projects.
“We got a pretty fair request here,” Jardell said. “I hope the Assembly will see it the way we do as a good, fair, friendly request.”
• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at email@example.com.
• Editor's note: This article has been changed to correct who said the board had made a fair request and hoped the Assembly would see it in the same light.