Many Local Projects In Senate's Capital Budget


     The Alaska State Senate passed its version of the 2014 capital budget Saturday, marking a total of just under $1.9 billion dollars for transportation, energy and public works projects around the state. The budget contains funding for many projects on the Kenai Peninsula.

     The Senate Finance Committee developed the 2014 capital budget through a series of 10 hearings, a review of the state departments’ requests and public testimony. The budget sets aside more than $50 million in House Districts 28, 29 and 30 on the Kenai Peninsula.

     Some of the items are big-ticket, like $3.4 million dollars for a thermal evaporation unit at the Central Peninsula landfill in Soldotna and $2 million for road projects throughout the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

     Other items carry a smaller price tag, like $58,000 for a backup emergency generator at the Soldotna Senior Center or $250,000 for a study of the Beluga Lake Floatplane Base in Homer. 

     Other central peninsula projects that made it into the senate’s budget include $2.5 million for reconstruction of the water reservoir in Soldotna, $1.3 million for a natural gas trunk line for Funny River and $1.4 million for facilities improvements at the mouth of the Kasilof River.

     On the southern peninsula, two state road projects would get funding - $850,000 for rehabilitation of East End Road at Mile 3.7 and $5 million for a makeover for Lake Street in downtown Homer.

     Some Senate Democrats are displeased with the capital budget. In a news release Monday, Anchorage Senator Johnny Ellis short-changes education while providing tens of millions for “ill-conceived” transportation projects.

     Ellis offered two amendments to fund engineering buildings on the UAA and UAF campuses. Both were rejected.

     The $1.9 billion dollar budget includes $928 million dollars in federal funds, which actually makes it one of the smaller capital budgets over the past few years. The budget now makes its way to the House.