State leaders to discuss energy, transportation at annual conference

Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2008

KETCHIKAN - Transportation and affordable energy will be key topics when more than 250 elected officials and municipal employees who gather this week in Ketchikan for the Alaska Municipal League's (AML) 58th annual Local Government Conference.

"This is a really interesting time in Alaska politics," said AML President Tim Beck, a Fairbanks assemblyman. "Alaska's municipalities need to continue to work together to create clear and concise decisions for the Legislature to work upon."

Many municipalities across the state share similar burdens at the local government level. Of these concerns, affordable energy discussions will be in the forefront this week.

At least two resolutions addressing statewide energy concerns are expected to be voted on during the AML Annual Business Meeting on Nov. 14. These resolutions will address renewable energy resources, energy efficiency, energy conservation and the expansion of the Power Cost Equalization Program to help offset high fuels costs in rural communities.

The status of future transportation projects across Alaska also is a top priority.

"This conference is the best opportunity for our State's elected municipal officials to address their community's problems on a statewide level," Beck said. "The decisions made during this conference help shape Alaska's future."

Several workshops throughout the conference will give delegates an opportunity to discuss and educate themselves further about both subjects.

Jeff Ottesen, director of the Division of Program Development, and Frank Richards, deputy commissioner of Highways and Public Facilities, will present a joint workshop about Alaska's transportation funding. Discussion of federal funding, and a possible Alaska Transportation Fund, is expected to draw a large crowd on Nov. 12.

On Nov. 13, the workshops continue with a presentation by Steve Haagenson, executive director of the Alaska Energy Authority. Haagenson's workshop discusses the State's Energy Plan aimed at reducing the cost of energy in each Alaskan community.

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