Dunleavy proposes big bond to go to voters this year - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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Dunleavy proposes big bond to go to voters this year

Gov. Mike Dunleavy introduced a $356 million infrastructure bond proposal – the first statewide borrowing measure in nearly 10 years. 

SB 74 has projects for nearly every corner of the state — transportation, education, recreation, and communications systems throughout the state. If passed by the Legislature, the general obligation bond will go to a vote of the people.

Ironically, it could set up a special election date that may coincide with a recall election hoped for by the Recall Dunleavy Committee. That committee says it is 70 percent through its needed signatures to get on a statewide ballot.

“This statewide bond package is essential to stabilizing our economy and putting Alaskans back to work following the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic,” Dunleavy said. “Not only will this proposal create jobs, it will improve critical infrastructure for all Alaskans. I look forward to working with the Legislature to take this to a vote of the people following the 2021 legislative session.”

The proposal leverages a federal match of $1,003,471,000. Projects of interest included in the general obligation bond include:

  • $8.5M to West Susitna Road Access project
  • $25M to School Major Maintenance Grant Fund
  • $18.9M to Fairbanks Youth Facility
  • $2.4M to Fairbanks Pioneer Home
  • $19.5M to Alaska Vocational Technical Center upgrades
  • $12M to Alaska Public Safety Communication Services System upgrades
  • $13.2M to Fairbanks to Seward Multi-Use Recreation Trail Construction
  • $20M to Statewide Firebreak Construction Program
  • $2.4M to Alaska Wildlife Troopers Marine Enforcement repair and replacement
  • $4.2M to Bethel Airport
  • $8.3M to Craig Harbor
  • $28.8M to Dalton Highway repairs and upgrades
  • $540K to Denali Highway Mile Point 24-25
  • $5.6M to Ketchikan South Tongass Highway
  • $29.9M to Sterling Highway Miles 8-25
  • $9.3M to Unalaska Harbor
  • $29.6M to University of Alaska infrastructure projects
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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Oh great plan…..pass the Bill to the residents because the state can’t figure out how money works.

  • There are some shots here that badly miss the target. The only “roads to resources” I see on the project list here is West Susitna Road. Therefore the idea that this can help the state economy is akin to paying someone to dig a hole and then fill it in; puts wear and tear on the shovel but when the project is complete there is nothing useful to show for it. Using tax-exempt bond proceeds and federal funds at the same time can be problematic, especially on the same project. Finally, the Senate President said today that interest rates are so low that the money here is almost free; but it still has to be paid back, and since issuance costs are two percent, and the interest rate will actually be above zero, the actual interest cost will actually be close to 4 percent. If the state was a business it would avoid debt right now for the simple reason that income in the future is likely to be even less than today! No government ever borrowed its way into a better future!

  • All bonds. No.

    • Like

  • Last summer, and the one before, road construction was in ‘progress’ on the Sterling highway. Lots of activity, machines, surveyors and assorted ‘road building’ gear. Very impressive. Millions in pay-ins and payouts. A Canadian company was/is the general contractor. Not an American, or especially Alaskan one. Some local hire but not a lot. Cheaper to bring their own and a lot less red tape. Who wouldn’t? Borrowing money with Alaskan citizens on the hook, should something go wrong,(surely it won’t) and not them? Where is the common sense reasoning that says, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”? Where is the common sense that a few billion dollars in Alaskan jobs are disappearing and our country is on a downward spiral, as we confabulate about “greener pastures” and say ‘yahoo’ to “the new green deal”? Talk is cheap. Loans are cheap until you have to make the payments. Borrowing money at this stage of newly forming history is fools’ play, in my opinion.

  • Let’s get a road to Nome and open up
    Land and resources and make that town the next Ketchikan or Palmer. Sell any and all state land we can along the way between there and here. Get people out there, mining and drilling and hunting and fishing. That’s a road I can get behind-something that opens up more Alaska.

    • Also a road to Dillingham.
      Imagine 1/2 of the combat fishers at the Russian River being able to drive the other direction.
      The monopoly barge operator wouldn’t like it very much though

    • Great idea Lawrence. That is a bond I’d vote for. Yes open this state up.

    • Unless we move the capital, I’d rather have a road to Juneau.

  • Once again the Cowardly Lion falls flat on his face. Biden is at war with fossil fuel, Canada has killed 2021 tourism, and Alaska is experiencing a outmigration due to economic instability.

    And Dunleavy wants bonds for spending money we the average Alaskan doesn’t have. This is a time for cutting the budget. Hard.

    Clueless toad

    • Agree! Is Dunleavy for or against the hard-working folks and formerly hard-working retirees of this state. Cut the darned budget and do not impose more tax burdens on the hard-working and retired people who are trying to stay afloat. The free money for the feedbags living off the system has to stop before more bonds and taxes are considered. Cutting the budget hard should be a mantra in these times.

  • If I have to pay for crap that I never use nor never will (like public schools, youth facilities, and the Fairbanks-Seward trails), then why not add in money for fishing boats so no one has to pay for a charter anymore? How about a bond to improve shooting ranges? When does the madness end? I’d rather Dunleavy to pursue more cuts, especially the museums, Performing Arts, and public media, than more bonds. And if the state is paying up the nose for our terrible schools, I’d rather the state focus on changing the funding and allow the money to follow the child wherever they (and their parent[s]) want to attend instead of just sending it to schools based on number of students living in a certain zip code. Dunleavy, like most of our prior Governors, is making things worse for the state.

  • Why not just sell off some of those Chinese stocks in the PF portfolio ?

  • More Bonds = MORE TAXES
    No way!!

    • Absolutely! – NFW on more bonds – especially with a proposed $5K PFD for every man, woman, and child in this state with two back-breaking income tax proposals pre-filed by legislators for this session to fill the void in the Permanent fund. And my property tax valuation on this 40-year old house needing major repairs just went up another $4000. What is wrong with this picture?! I supported Dunleavy but never again with such an asinine proposal!

  • I don’t see anything for a private audit of our election system and voting machines.

    • You probably won’t see a private audit of this state’s election system and voting machines since the national election was likely rigged and stolen. Look at what’s going on with free speech in the USA!

  • No.
    .
    Sure, Alaskan voters, owners of Dominion vote-tabulating machines like those at the center of the national election-fraud controversy, have little reason to doubt the outcome of this “election”.
    .
    But it seems worth asking why $238.14M should be borrowed when it could be taken out of the Alaska Munipal League’s $530,750,965.62 “Investment Pool”.
    .
    Since these boondoggles benefit Alaska Municipal League’s 165 government members, why shouldn’t government members, especially those -not- propped up by taxpayers, pay for what looks like the revival of President Roosevelt’s WPA?
    (akml.org/member-services/municipalities/)
    .
    Now… recall Alaska’s House of Representatives rejected Laddy Shaw, for Speaker Pro Tem and installed Josiah Patkotak as Speaker Pro Tem instead.
    .
    Coincidentally perhaps, Alaska Public media reported on April 7, 2020: “Alaska’s largest private-sector employer, Arctic Slope Regional Corp., has laid off employees and cut charitable giving due to the collapse in oil prices and the economic shutdown caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
    .
    That’s according to an April 3 letter from the chairman of ASRC’s board of directors, Crawford Patkotak, to the company’s 13,000 shareholders. An ASRC spokesman would not say how many employees were let go.”
    .
    One wonders whether Alaska’s largest private-sector employer just took de facto control of the legislator half of Alaska’s lobbyist-legislator team. Motive seems obvious. Republican politicians lack the force of character to lead, Democrat politicians lack the force of corruption to rule, while Alaska’s Permanent Fund just sits there, waiting to be spent, China flu be damned.
    .
    Of course, somebody who’s “Undecided” shall lead them from their self-imposed bondage.
    .
    Not necessarily a bad thing, if it happens… Should be fun watching socialist-democrats and the emerging corporatocracy battle for control of Alaska’s Permanent Fund… and what’s left of Alaska’s people after the next 1980’s-style exodus.
    .
    Only hardened cynics would wonder what these boondoggles and seeming resurgence of the Susitna Dam mega-boondoggle are meant to accomplish while state and local officials are doing their very best to kill Alaska’s economy and people in the name of China flu hysteria.

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