CAPITAL BUDGET MATTERS
I am pleased to report that Anchorage has received a much-appreciated share of the state’s capital budget. More than $500 million has been allocated to Anchorage projects, about half of which were vetted through the development of the city’s legislative program.
Early last fall the Municipality of Anchorage went through a very deliberate and public process to identify community infrastructure needs. Community Councils provided input, municipal directors provided information, and members of my Administration met with each senator and representative (or their designee) who represents Anchorage. Then I, along with my executive team, approved the final list of projects. In Jan., the Assembly unanimously approved our plan or “wish list” that totaled more than a half a billion dollars.
I would like to recognize the work of the entire Anchorage delegation for their focus on the capital budget during the past 90-days, particularly Senator Johnny Ellis, who serves on the Senate Finance Committee, and Representatives Bill Stoltze and Mike Hawker who co-chair the same committee in the House.
Governor Parnell has announced that he is considering vetoing projects in the $3 billion budget. I feel very comfortable that the wish list Anchorage submitted not only passes the red face test but also was a responsible approach to identifying deferred maintenance needs. This approach is consistent with the Governor’s, and to that end, with only two exceptions, no requests were made for constructing new buildings. The exceptions are the construction of the Alaska Crime Lab and of the UAA Sports Arena.
Public safety is a top priority that the Governor and I both share, and the new statewide crime lab is badly needed to process evidence in a timely and affordable manner; therefore, putting criminals behind bars more quickly. The UAA Sports Arena had previously received funding for project design. As time passes, construction costs will grow. It is responsible to finish the project in a timely manner, and voters will ultimately have their say on this and other state education facilities when the bond goes on the ballot in November.
To see what Anchorage projects were funded, click here to view the state’s capital budget: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/SB0230D.PDF
To see Anchorage’s legislative program “wish list”, click here http://www.muni.org/Departments/Mayor/Pages/Default.aspx
I have received a number of calls from concerned residents who know that their favorite community project is included in the capital budget and who are wondering how to preserve it. The Governor is taking input. I suggest sending a letter identifying the need for the project from your point of view. Write to Governor Sean Parnell at PO Box 110020, Juneau, AK 99811-0020.