In a “lean” $2 billion capital budget recently passed by the Alaska Senate, about $39 million will go toward Haines projects.
Haines’ slice of the capital budget includes: $31 million for Haines Highway reconstruction and replacement of the Wells Bridge, $5 million for replacement of the Klehini River Bridge, $2 million for airport improvements and rehabilitation, $625,000 for the Old Haines Highway sidewalk, and $570,000 for asbestos cement pipe replacement.
The Haines Borough submitted its legislative priorities, a 14-item “wish list” of local capital projects, to the Alaska Legislature in February. None of the projects – Lutak Dock upgrades, slump mitigation and drainage improvements, sewer system upgrades, renovations/replacement of the public safety building, to name a few – are included in the state’s capital budget.
Manager Mark Earnest said the process isn’t over yet and he remains hopeful that some of the requests might make their way into the budget bill as it works its way through the committee process.
However, Earnest said in an interview this week the “not-so-gradual ramping down” of state and federal support is a trend he doesn’t see changing any time soon.
“I do believe -- I do predict -- that (funding) will be substantially less than what we’re getting now. I could be wrong; I hope I am. But I don’t think I am,” Earnest said.
The 2013 legislative session ends Sunday.