Senate Budget Contains Dozens of Peninsula Projects

Aaron Selbig

     The Alaska Senate’s Finance Committee unveiled its 2015 capital budget Monday, including nearly $2 billion for a variety of projects across the state.

     The Finance Committee’s budget contains several big ticket projects, including $37.5 million to finish the state library, archives and museum building in downtown Juneau and $45.6 million to complete the engineering building at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.

     In House Districts 28, 29 and 30 on the Kenai Peninsula, the committee proposes about $63.5 million for dozens of projects. That’s about $21 million more than Governor Sean Parnell included for the peninsula in his budget back in December.

     In Homer, the committee proposes $1.4 million for road improvements to Waddell Way, $950,000 for a new Pratt Museum building and $100,000 for natural gas conversion at the Homer Senior Center, among other projects.

     The budget has $15,000 in it for planning a new library in Anchor Point, $45,000 for a new police vehicle in Seldovia and $50,000 for a new emergency building in Kachemak-Selo.

     Kenai would get $400,000 for a new fire engine in the Senate’s budget, as well as $200,000 for upgrades to the water treatment plant.

     $1.2 million is earmarked for a roof replacement at the Soldotna Sports Complex, as well as $24,000 for improvements to sidewalks and street-lighting in Soldotna.

     Also last Monday, after several hours of debate, the Senate passed a $9.3 billion state operating budget on a 16-4 vote. That spending package will now be the subject of a conference committee, consisting of House and Senate negotiators.

     The state legislature is set to gavel out April 21st, although some lawmakers – including House Speaker Mike Chenault of Nikiski – have said they’d like to finish the state’s business by the 18th so they can break before the Easter holiday.