State budget grows into the night

Proposed capital budget for state hits a new high of $3.6 billion

Posted: Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Alaska House legislators were set for a floor debate late Monday night on an unprecedented capital budget of $3.6 billion.

The bill, yet to be put to a vote at press time, grew on Sunday to include $163 million for eight new school construction projects across the state, from the Panhandle's Coffman Cove to villages in the Interior and along the western coast.

The state's proposed capital spending also kept on growing Monday.

A few more items for Alaska communities - such as a $500,000 line item for the Museum of the North in Fairbanks requested by Rep. Jim Holm, R-Fairbanks - were added during the House Finance Committee session Monday afternoon.

After Holm pitched his amendment for the museum, the committee room erupted in laughter as House Finance Co-Chairman Kevin Meyer thanked Holm for reducing his original line item request for the museum. "(I'm) trying to keep the budget under control as much as possible," Meyer said.

In total, the House Finance Committee has added more than $275 million to the capital budget since Sunday.

Juneau's appropriation remained at approximately $61 million, with $45 million of that slated for the controversial Juneau access project, which would connect the capital by a road running north through Lynn Canal to a ferry terminal at the Katzehin River.

The committee sent the capital budget to the House Floor Monday afternoon.

Overall, the Legislature has now authorized more than $11.1 billion in its capital and operating budget bills.

• Elizabeth Bluemink can be reached at elizabeth.bluemink@juneauempire.com.

Some Juneau projects in the capital budget

Valley recreational sports complex: $4 million

Juneau International Airport terminal renovation: $1 million

Fish and Game electronic commercial catch/production reporting program development: $500,000

House of Wickersham building restoration: $200,000

Gastineau Channel crossing study and dredging: $3 million

Juneau Capital Transit bus replacement $1.4 million:

Juneau access project $45 million:

University of Alaska Southeast fire alarm system replacement: $520,000

UAS Student Services Center renovation: $1.95 million

Maintenance items for Alaska Capitol: $600,000

Reroofing of Capitol and Terry Miller Legislative Office Building :$550,000

Maintenance and refinish of exterior of Capitol and Terry Miller building: $1.15 million

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