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Anchorage Assembly evaluating $1.9B port cost estimate

March 30, 2019

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage Assembly is working to determine if it needs to spend about $1.9 billion to rebuild the city’s deteriorating port.

Assembly member Christopher Constant said at a March 21 Assembly committee meeting that the group needs to look closely at whether there are ways to save on cost, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported on Wednesday.

Constant has started a reexamination of the Anchorage Port modernization program as co-chair of the Assembly’s Enterprise and Utility Oversight Committee.

Current estimates show it will cost about $1.9 billion to replace and upgrade the port’s cargo, petroleum, cement terminals and other facilities.

Initial estimates were pegged at just less than $500 million in 2014. That cost estimate grew to more than $700 million in 2017 and was updated to approximately $1.9 billion earlier this year.

The Assembly on March 19 unanimously approved spending up to $100,000 from the port’s operating funds to hire experts to evaluate the overall cost of the current plan as well as whether the remaining development from a first, failed port project is usable.

The Assembly could approve additional funding for the consulting work if $100,000 isn’t enough, Constant said.

The Assembly specifically wants to know why the expected construction costs have nearly quadrupled over five years; ways the work can be modified or sequenced to lower costs; what facilities and equipment long-term port users need and are willing to pay for; and what are the best avenues for funding the project, whatever the final price ends up being among other aspects of the project.

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Information from: (Anchorage) Alaska Journal of Commerce, http://www.alaskajournal.com