At the invitation of Governor Walker, I joined him in Ketchikan with local officials for a face-to-face discussion on February 29 regarding the Gravina Access funding. The good news is we will finally be spending what is left of the Gravina Access funding on local access upgrades to the airport and other transportation projects vital to Ketchikan and Southern Southeast Alaska’s economy.

The Governor assured us the funding will stay in Ketchikan vs. the Southcoast Region as previously stated by the Department of Transportation (DOT). The history of this project is long and convoluted as well as receiving a lot of work over the years by my staff. One opportunity we took in this process was commissioning a legislative audit in 2008 of the DOT and the project.  The primary goals of the audit was to ensure the federal and state funds for the project were being managed properly and to let DOT know that the legislature was watching their handling of the funding.  I was concerned because over $100 million in federal funds had already been siphoned away towards projects in other parts of the state.  Originally, the US Congress approved over $245 million for the project.  This audit helped preserve the remaining $96 million currently available.

Local Ketchikan Officials and the DOT will now begin a process to determine and finalize projects, then encumber that funding so construction can begin.

I offer my appreciation to the Governor for his attention to Gravina Access as well as engaging with my office and Ketchikan’s local officials.  My office will continue to monitor the process and stands ready to assist when necessary.


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