Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson is pushing hard for state capital funds to shore up the aging and fragile Port of Alaska, which is the lifeline for the majority of the state when it comes to goods and commodities. The port has been in decline for years.
Bronson says the port needs $1.1 billion to upgrade it to protect against a catastrophic failure in the event of a major earthquake. He’s asking the state for $600 million for its share, and Anchorage and federal funds would make up the rest to shore up the aging pilings and docks. The last earthquake in November of 2018 emphasized the need to do this immediately: If the 7.1 magnitude quake had lasted seven seconds longer the port would have failed through liquefaction of the clay soil it’s anchored in.
Bronson has produced a video to get his point across to the Legislature, and to emphasize to the rest of Alaska the dire need for the funding from the Legislature. In the video, he makes it clear it’s either a combination of funding to fix the port now, or it will mean significantly increased tariffs through revenue bonds, which would be paid by consumers. Also appearing in the video are mayors from around the state who talk about the risk to their communities if nothing is done.