Doll, Muñoz split on bond proposal

Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2008

The two contenders for Juneau's Mendenhall Valley seat in the Alaska House of Representatives are split on the $315 million transportation bond on the November ballot.

Incumbent Rep. Andrea Doll, D-Juneau, said it is too much money, but challenger Cathy Muñoz said any money spent in Juneau is a good reason to vote for the proposition.

The two are stepping outside traditional party stereotypes, with the Democrat urging fiscal conservatism, while the Republican is supporting borrowing to increase spending.

The Juneau project proposes improvements to the intersection of Glacier Highway and Back Loop Road, in the middle of the valley district both candidates are contesting. House District 4 runs from the valley north through Auke Bay and up Lynn Canal.

Doll split with other members of the Juneau delegation to oppose the measure.

"If these projects are that important, we should have paid for them," Doll said, with some of the surplus that is being saved for later.

Now, she said, the bill for those bonds is likely to come due after oil production has declined and Alaska isn't making enough from oil revenues to support state government operating costs, let alone capital projects.

Muñoz said she supported the bond issue even though only a tiny fraction of the money went to Juneau. Other Southeast communities with struggling economies get needed help, she said, criticizing Doll's opposition.

"I think that sends a message to our other communities, that are suffering an extreme decline in population, that we don't support them," she said.

She likened that to people in Juneau not speaking up to support Ketchikan when its Gravina Island bridge project was canceled by Gov. Sarah Palin.

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