Third Avenue paving earmark lost


The Haines Borough will redouble efforts to secure $900,000 in funding for paving of Third Avenue after losing a federal earmark for the work.

Funds for the work were removed from the federal Denali Commission.

An Aug. 2 report by the U.S. General Accounting Office said the federal Department of Transportation properly redirected the money to the state Department of Transportation, as only states – not federal agencies – were eligible to receive funding under a federal transportation bill that was the original source of the money.

Borough manager Mark Earnest recently wrote to state Department of Transportation commissioner Marc Leuiken, seeking the money for repaving, and adding curbs, gutters and sidewalk between Old Haines Highway and Union Street.

He described the 1,700 foot section as “seriously deteriorated, heaved, pot-holed and broken.” Under the original funding scenario, the borough would have to contribute $100,000 toward the project.

The shift is a setback for the borough, which was seeking funding directly from the commission. The project, which is at 95 percent design, has been languishing for more than a year.

“We applied to the Denali Commission because we wanted to get additional sources of funding, so we weren’t entirely reliant on the (Alaska) legislature,” Earnest said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to get the project funded and completed next year.”

Borough work on Lynnview Avenue and Fourth Avenue, including paving and curbing, is expected to be completed this summer.

State Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Haines, said he would pursue the funding but hasn’t yet spoken to borough officials.


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