When Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell signed the state’s $11.4 billion operating and capital budgets Wednesday, he also gave the thumbs up to hundreds of proposed capital projects around the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
The state’s $2.8 billion capital budget for 2012 included more than $108 million for projects around the borough.
“While all projects were not approved, and some were reduced, we feel very fortunate that many projects were found worthy of the governor’s approval,” KPB mayor David Carey wrote in a news release.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly listed the Homer Solid Waste Transfer Facility as its top priority for funding and Parnell awarded the project the full requested amount of $8.9 million.
Carey wrote he was “very grateful” to see Parnell approve the project.
“People very much went to the bat for us — I’d say both on the House side as well as the Governor,” he said in an interview, noting the borough would now have all the funds necessary to complete the project.
The borough assembly’s second-highest priority project, a natural gas line to Homer with a price tag of about $10 million, did not fare so well as it was cut completely from the budget.
Carey said the gas line was in last year’s budget and Parnell cut all but $1 million of the funding for the project.
“At that time last year, he said, ‘Oh, next year, you can apply again,’” Carey said. “Obviously this year all of it went out. I would certainly find it consistent that we would continue to ask for it.”
In total, Parnell vetoed about $412 million through his constitutional line-item veto authority — $400.3 million of which were capital budget vetoes — from the budget approved by state lawmakers earlier.
“Given the uncertainty in our national economy and declining oil production, I felt it important to impose more fiscal discipline over the state’s checkbook,” Parnell wrote in a news release. “Still, the state budgets for the next fiscal year promote economic growth and opportunity for families, and focus on Alaska’s constitutional priorities — infrastructure, resource development, education, and public safety.”
Of the about $147.6 million in capital projects requested across the borough, Parnell vetoed about $39 million for a total of about $108.63 million, Carey said.
The borough also received $5.94 million in re-appropriated funding through the budget making the combined total received by the borough $114.57 million.
“This is the largest amount of monies from the state that the Kenai Peninsula Borough has ever received and will provide needed employment, infrastructure and energy security,” Carey wrote in the release.