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Tanana Bridge money sought by Alaska officials

Posted: March 30, 2011 - 9:12pm

FAIRBANKS — State railroad and military affairs officials from Fairbanks are in Juneau to lobby Alaska lawmakers for more funding to build a bridge over the Tanana River.

The railroad needs another $44 million to build the bridge, which saw a rising price tag create hurdles to the project, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Mayor Luke Hopkins said Tuesday he is asking Interior legislators to back the request. The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly put its support behind the request last week, noting it is home to Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base.

“The U.S. military represents a critical component of the economic underpinning of the borough,” a resolution by borough officials states.

A request for funding has not yet emerged in Juneau with less than three weeks left until the Legislature adjourns. The state approved $40 million last year to help build the bridge and a connecting levee before the price tag jumped to roughly $200 million.

Congress has already approved $104 million in Department of Defense funding for the project, but railroad officials said federal funding could start drying up if the Legislature doesn’t provide more help this spring.

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