Council Seeks to Redirect Transportation Funds

Ariel Van Cleave

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     Homer city officials have plans to re-allocate funds originally considered to be used for improvements at the intersection of Main Street and the Sterling Highway.

     The city received a Legislative Grant totaling $2 million that was set aside to be used for one of Homer’s most troublesome intersections. Officials were considering using the money in addition to the almost $3 million in Alaska Department of Transportation funds. The agency is considering constructing a roundabout at the intersection.

     But according to a resolution, which was passed by council members during Monday night’s meeting, the potential project has been delayed for years because of changing cost estimates and the complexities associated with attempting to use a municipal grant for improvements on two state highways. So Council member Beau Burgess said he wants the money put to another use.

“I think the people up on the hill as far as safety, it was kind of promised to them at annex, deserve a fire station. And anything excess that we can put towards the Port and Harbor building is a good use of funds,” he said.

     The city included both the Port and Harbor Office and the Skyline Fire Station in its Capital Improvement Plan priority list. Officials said it’s a better option to use funds for city projects rather than construction that should be a state responsibility. The next step requires City Manager Walt Wrede to work with the area’s state lawmakers to make the change.


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