Audit finds problems with bridge authority numbers

JUNEAU — A newly released audit finds that toll and revenue projections for the Knik Arm bridge crossing are “unreasonably optimistic.”

The legislative audit, released Saturday, finds that projected cash flows to the state are likely overstated as a result.

The Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority, or KABATA, defended its traffic, revenue and financial models as “the most comprehensive ever completed for a transportation project in Alaska.” In a statement released shortly after the audit, it says the audit failed in its stated purpose, “to provide legislators with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions” about future, KABATA-related legislation.

KABATA was created by the state in 2003 to build a bridge connecting Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Supporters say the project would create new opportunities for business development and could pay for itself. But some have questioned the need for the project and what the obligation to the state might be.

A bill aimed at advancing the project had been on the House calendar for Saturday but was pushed back to Monday.

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