Capital budget meets many Peninsula needs

Gov. Sean Parnell earlier this week signed off on several bills, including the state’s capital budget. We’d like to take a moment to thank our legislative delegation and the governor for working together to bring nearly $60 million in projects to the Kenai Peninsula.

Funding runs the gamut, from money to upgrade the bathrooms at the Soldotna Senior Center to make them ADA compliant, to much larger projects, like a leachate thermal evaporation unit for the Central Peninsula Landfill.

A capital budget has numerous benefits for our community. Economically, construction projects mean good-paying construction jobs, and that money circulates through local businesses.

But a look through the list of projects also reveals another benefit: improved quality of life for residents of and visitors to the Peninsula. Better roads, better buildings, better access to recreation sites — those are things that make our lives better.

Headed into the last legislative session, the governor highlighted his budget priorities to include energy and resources, education, public safety, transportation and infrastructure, and military support. The governor’s priorities tend to reflect what many Peninsula residents would like to see from their government, and the projects approved for the Peninsula are representative of those priorities.

We’re also pleased to see the Legislature and governor get on the same page with regard to the types of projects to be funded. Too often in recent years, we’ve seen what we thought were good projects proposed for capital funding, only to see them vetoed without much of an explanation. Or, we’ve seen legislators pile on projects, with little consideration of whether the projects were necessary and worthwhile.

We avoided that this year, as Parnell didn’t veto a single item in the capital budget sent to him by the Legislature.

Certainly, some of the projects funded may not seem like a priority for everyone. And there are projects out there that we’d like to see some funding for, perhaps in a future budget.

But this capital plan is the result of a good communication between the Legislature and the administration, and we’re pleased with the results.

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