Alaska House has approved legislation to borrow about $193 million from
grant-anticipated revenue vehicle bonds to pay for roadwork.
bill, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage, would authorize the state treasurer
to borrow money through the special class of bonds – commonly known as GARVEE
bonds – to help finance 23 transportation projects listed in the bill.
of the projects are part of Gov. Frank Murkowski’s road priority list. Among
the projects listed are extending the Glacier Highway in Juneau north to the
proposed Kensington mine and granting $10 million to pave a road between Hollis
and Klawock on Prince of Wales Island in the panhandle.
The funding program allows the state to borrow money against
the federal transportation dollars that come each year to pay for construction.
The sale is based on the assumption that federal funding in future years would
pay off the bonds. This allows the state to get money needed for the project up
Opponents say borrowing the money would saddle future
generations with debt. Supporters say the state would earn interest from
holding $193 million while the debt is being paid down.
The interest from the bonds would cut the state’s obligation
in half for a few years, Meyer told the Juneau Empire.
must still pass a reconsideration vote in the House, which is not expected to
change the outcome, before moving on to the Senate.