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Juneau projects pepper capital budget

Juneau delegation praises total package, but looks for tweaks

Posted: April 10, 2012 - 12:04am

The Senate Finance Committee has bumped up funding for the state Libraries, Archives and Museum project to $49 million, nearly half the remaining needed appropriation.


“It’s moving in the right direction,” said Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau.


Total remaining funding needed is about $90 million, staff in the Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums said.


Gov. Sean Parnell had requested $20 million in his proposed budget, so the Senate proposal more than doubles that amount and brings the project a little over halfway to the remaining goal.


The funding was included in a $2.6 billion capital budget now awaiting action by the powerful Senate Finance Committee that would provide more than $100 million for Juneau with a combination of projects of statewide interest such as the SLAM project and local projects.


“I wish we could have got more, but we’re getting close to what we need to begin construction,” Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, said.


Other Juneau projects amounted to about $56.5 million, with by $9.2 million for upgrading the Douglas Island building that is home to Alaska Department of Fish & Game and other offices. The downtown State Office Building’s parking garage also gets $3.5 million for repairs.


Egan said he likes what he’s seen so far of the overall budget.


“At first glance I think it’s good, we’re faring fairly well,” he said.


Other smaller amounts for maintenance include $2.2 million for the Juneau Pioneer Home, $500,000 for the Governor’s House and Archives, $319,200 for Lemon Creek Correctional Center, $415,502 for the Johnson Youth Center and $104,434 for the Juneau Public Health Center,


Other money being sought is $5 million for new lighting on Egan Drive, $2 million for the Aurora Small Boat Harbor and $1.5 million for enhanced Capital Transit service.


Road projects in the budget include $10 million for repaving Glacier Highway from Fritz Cove to Seaview Avenue, $1.5 million for Yandukin Drive/Shell Simmons Drive work.


The University of Alaska Southeast has two projects, $6,250,000 to complete work on the university’s Banfield Hall dormitory project and $190,000 for mining workforce development.


Two Juneau Economic Development Council projects got $250,000 each, the FIRST Robotics Alaska and Spring Board Technology.


In addition to the $2.6 billion capital budget, the Legislature is also looking to borrow $450 million in a bonding package, with the Senate’s version mostly going to Anchorage port projects, but recently new Nome and Kotzebue port projects at $50 million each were included as well.


That bond included two road projects for Juneau, one at Glacier Highway mileposts 4-6 for $5.5 million and the other for Mendenhall Loop Road at $6 million.


The budget may see additional changes at the Senate Finance Committee level today, said Egan, a member of that committee.


Egan said he’s still hoping there will be changes to increase amounts or add new projects, either in the bill’s remaining time in the Senate or later in the House of Representatives.


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

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