Southeast representatives added dozens of projects worth about $13.5 million to the capital budget before it passed the House. They were included in the final public-works funding list passed by the Legislature before it adjourned.
One large project is the Lynn Canal Highway, slated to run north out of Juneau. It got $10 million toward construction from the capital budget and other sources.
Another is Ketchikan’s Medical Center addition, which picked up $5 million on top of $10 million already included by the state Senate.
Southeast’s four House members also added smaller community grants, most helping local government, social-service or similar groups.
Those ranged from $150,000 for Hydaburg teacher housing to $80,000 for Pelican fuel dock and float repairs.
The budget also includes $200,000 for manhole covers and sewer line repairs in Thorne Bay. Wrangell Representative Peggy Wilson says the lines can’t handle heavy storms.
“That system was so bad that when they have a lot going on it actually comes up through the manholes. And the manhole lids get floated away,” Wilson says.
The governor can veto projects in the capital budget.
The House did not restore some funding cuts made by the Senate. For example, close to $1.5 million for two Sitka water and sewer projects remained out of the budget.
The House also cut some items the Senate included. An example is $2 million for repairs to Juneau’s State Office Building parking garage.
Here’s a few other small projects added by the House:
- Juneau Filipino Community building repair and maintenance, at $80,000.
- Juneau’s Haven House transitional program for women released from prison, $50,000.
- Hollis Volunteer Fire Department Emergency Radio Equipment, at about $16,000.
- Port Protection boardwalk repairs and maintenance, at $18,000.
- $200,000 toward Saxman’s Mahoney Lake hydroelectric project.
- $500,000 for improvements to Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association facilities.
- Indian Country status in Alaska would afford the same protections as reservation lands in the Lower 48.
- To many, ivory means dead elephants wasting away in the sun. "What they don’t see is walrus ivory, legal harvest, food on the table, economic benefit to rural Alaskans,” says biologist Gay Sheffield.
- “We don’t want to move quickly at all costs,” said Alaska BP regional manager David VanTuyl. “We don’t want to rush into the largest energy project in North America that only ends up losing lots of money for all of us.”
- Sealaska’s newest board member will continue to push for election and management changes. At least one long-time board member says she's willing to listen.