SLAM, Juneau Access road top city's capital budget funding

Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, talks with Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, during a break in the Senate Chambers as the Senate takes up the state's operating budget bill at the Capitol on Monday.

Juneau’s delegation accomplished one of its top priority for this legislative session by securing the funds needed to ensure the State Library and Museum Project is completed.

 

The state’s capital improvements budget released Monday includes $37.5 million for the SLAM project, along with millions more for improving Glacier Highway and Egan Drive, and funding for the hotly debated Juneau Access Project.

“I’m happy — $37.5 million is a lot of money, especially in this budget cycle, but we’re going to get SLAM done,” a smiling Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, said. “It’s not a Juneau project — it’s a statewide project, it just happens to be in Juneau.

Figures provided by the Department of Education indicated the state stands to save about $9.8 million by opting to fund the total cost of the project now, Egan said. Still, the House will have to pass the budget in order for funding to be finalized.

“It’s not over yet. Things can change on a daily basis in this building,” Egan said. “But right now, I feel great.”

Gov. Sean Parnell had originally recommended $15 million for SLAM project.

The second-largest item in the capital budget for Juneau is, perhaps, the most controversial issue in town: the Juneau Access Project.

The same $35 million proposed by Parnell is in the budget for the mega-project.

“It’s pretty well-rounded,” Egan said of the package of capital projects funded for Juneau. “We got a lot of smaller projects too, like a new heating system for REACH, and things like that.”

Senators on the Finance Committee left more than $29 million in the budget for various improvements to Egan Drive and Glacier Highway, including $17.5 million for repaving Egan from the Douglas Bridge to Mendenhall Loop Road.

The City and Borough of Juneau also received more than $3 million in funding for three water-related projects.

The state allocated $1.35 million for maintenance on the six wells on Last Chance Basin and for a seventh well to be drilled. Another $650,000 went to work on the Salmon Creek Water Treatment Facility for filtration work, and the final $1.03 million is appropriated for general Juneau water treatment improvements.

Deferred maintenance bills of about $592,000 for the Dimond Courthouse, $532,000 for the Johnson Youth Center and $900,000 for the Lemon Creek Correctional Center also survived the Senate’s revisions to Parnell’s initial proposal.

UAS was a recipient of just under $4.3 million in funding added by the Senate that was not offered by the governor. Of that allocation, $2.97 million is dedicated for the Technology Education Center, $800,000 goes to replacing lights on campus and the remaining $500,000 is for pavement replacement on campus.

 

Other improvements:

• Dimond Park Field House parking lot paving project — $72,000

• Southeast Regional Resource Center kitchen renovation — $35,700

• Southeast Alaska Independent Living, Inc. accessible vehicles, matching funds — $23,600

• REACH, Inc. heating system upgrade — $98,000

• Capitol Community Broadcasting, Inc. Gavel to Gavel video servers upgrade — $190,000

• Catholic Community Services senior center commercial dishwasher replacement — $10,000

• Boy Scouts of America District, Great Alaska Council design, plan and construction for safety features at firearm range — $15,000

• Eagle Beach winter trail grooming — $6,200

• Gruening Cabin major maintenance and residency program startup — $30,000

• Territorial Sportsmen, Inc. public use cabin — $37,500

• Juneau Fire Department mobile data terminals — $66,000

$1.9B capital budget unveiled

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