Assembly preparing to make major decisions on Port of Alaska's future

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - At a special meeting on Tuesday, members of the Anchorage Assembly will be tasked with finally making a major decision about whether or not to move forward with the construction of an all-new, $40 million petroleum and concrete terminal (PCT) at the Port of Alaska.

The PCT is a major key to executing the long-discussed "Port Modernization Program," which is a sorely needed initiative to restore Anchorage's aging docks; however, the assembly has multiple factors to consider before taking a final vote.

Even with three state grants worth just under $50 million, an additional $100 million would be needed to complete the PCT -- only the first of multiple operations needed to bring the Port of Alaska back up to modern-day shipping standards.

Earlier this year, the price tag for the entire "Port Modernization Program" ballooned to nearly $2 billion. Since then, assembly members have been delaying a decision on whether to get the ball rolling in order to consider options for cutting the costs of rebuilding the port.

Anchorage Municipal Manager Bill Falsey says the time to act is now, as the grants from the state have already expired once before and it's not certain that the municipality will be granted another extension.

Assemblyman Christopher Constant sits as Co-Chair on the Enterprise & Utility Oversight Committee. He is unsure how the vote will ultimately go, but during an interview with KTUU he noted the impact that this week's decision will have on the entire state.

"Goods that come through that port hit 85% of the communities in our state," he said. "Everyone has a stake. This is a project of such a big scale that we want to make sure we're fully briefed before we make the policy decision."

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