Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/10/2001 01:37 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SB  44-ALASKA TOLL BRIDGE AND CAUSEWAY AUTHORITY                                                                     
            SB  45-APPROP: DESIGN OF KNIK ARM CROSSING                                                                        
VICE CHAIRMAN WARD asked Ms. Brown to present SB 44 and SB 45.                                                                  
MS. LORETTA  BROWN, staff  to Senator Ward,  sponsor of both  bills,                                                            
explained  that SB 44 and  SB 45 are related.   SB 44 establishes  a                                                            
toll bridge authority  and SB 45 would facilitate  the building of a                                                            
Knik Arm  causeway.   The bills  are essentially  the same as  bills                                                            
introduced  in the  Thirteenth  Alaska  Legislature.   The  proposed                                                            
legislation would  appropriate $1 million in state  general funds to                                                            
form  an authority  and to  design a  crossing that  will span  Cook                                                            
Inlet  from  the Port  of  Anchorage  to Point  Mackenzie.    Eighty                                                            
percent  of construction  costs will  be covered  by federal  funds.                                                            
The causeway authority  will issue transportation bonds for up to 20                                                            
percent  of  the  cost  and  collect  tolls   to  repay  the  bonds.                                                            
Congressman  Young has stated that  the Knik Arm causeway  is one of                                                            
his two top priorities.                                                                                                         
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked Mr. Poshard  if DOTPF has done any  studies on                                                            
the Knik Arm causeway.                                                                                                          
MR. POSHARD  informed the committee  that some studies were  done in                                                            
the mid-1980s.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked whether DOTPF  studied alternative  methods of                                                            
transportation such as high speed ferries.                                                                                      
MR. POSHARD  said he does not know  what alternatives were  studied.                                                            
SENATOR  TAYLOR  asked  whether  DOTPF  decided  a  causeway  was  a                                                            
realistic project.                                                                                                              
MR. POSHARD said  DOTPF believes it should take a  hard look at this                                                            
project   and  supports   the   appropriation   to   get  into   the                                                            
environmental  process.    DOTPF  requested   $20  million  recently                                                            
through the congressional  delegation for the environmental phase of                                                            
the Knik Arm causeway.   Congressman Young has been  very supportive                                                            
of that request.                                                                                                                
SENATOR  TAYLOR  maintained  that  someone  must  have  decided  the                                                            
project is realistic if those funds were requested.                                                                             
VICE-CHAIRMAN   WARD  explained  that  the  Thirteenth  Legislature                                                             
appropriated $5 million  for a study for the Knik Arm causeway.  One                                                            
component  was the  "do  nothing"  proposal and  that  is where  the                                                            
ferries  came  in  or where  people  would  continue  to  drive  the                                                            
existing route.  He was  the sponsor of that legislation and at that                                                            
time Congressman Young was not in his current position.                                                                         
SENATOR  TAYLOR   moved  SB  44  from   committee  with   individual                                                            
VICE-CHAIRMAN  WARD announced  that with no  objection, SB  44 moved                                                            
from committee.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR  TAYLOR   moved  SB  45  from   committee  with   individual                                                            
VICE-CHAIRMAN  WARD announced that  with no objections, SB  45 moved                                                            
from committee.  He then  stated the committee would take up SB 152.                                                            

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