Parnell pencils in $35 million for Juneau Road
Gov. Sean Parnell’s proposed capital budget for 2015 includes only one Haines item: $20 million for ferry terminal modifications so the facility can accommodate the new Alaska Class Ferries.
The capital budget totals about $1.7 billion, including $35 million for the Juneau Access Road.
DOT communications officer Jeremy Woodrow said the $35 million will go toward funding the first phase of construction of Juneau Access, “which, depending on the preferred alternative selected in the Final SEIS (Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement), will most likely start on the Juneau side of the selected route.”
Last year, the governor’s budget included $39 million for Haines: $31 million for Haines Highway improvements, $5 million for the Klehini River Bridge replacement, $2 million for airport improvements, $625,000 for the Old Haines Highway sidewalk and about $570,000 for asbestos cement pipe replacement.
Mayor Stephanie Scott said she “doesn’t have a crystal ball,” but supposes Parnell’s budgeting of $20 million for the ferry terminal modifications indicates increased resolve for the Juneau Access Road project and the day boats intended to link the road to Haines and Skagway.
If the ferry is home-ported in Haines, though, that could mean more jobs and more money spent in town, Scott said. “That $20 million may very well turn into permanent jobs here in Haines and that would be a boost to the economy,” she said.
The Alaska Legislature will have an opportunity to add projects to the governor’s capital budget when it convenes this January.
The Haines Borough recently approved its federal and state project priorities for funding.