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Rooney: Evergreen project may still have chance

 

The renovation of Evergreen Road may not be a dead issue just yet.

Borough Manager Tim Rooney informed the Assembly at last week’s regular meeting that the project still has a “50-50” chance of being completed if other projects on the Alaska Statewide Transportation Improvement Program list are found not to be shovel-ready.

Rooney also pointed out how a letter-writing campaign by Wrangellites might have made the difference.

“We submitted letters to the Department of Transportation regarding Evergreen (and) voicing our displeasure regarding the pull-out of the funding,” Rooney said. “Over 350 letters were sent from the community, in large part due to the Chamber of Commerce’s assistance.”

Al Clough, the regional director for ADOT, informed the Borough by email.

“I want to make it perfectly clear that the federal funding available in the current STIP is fully allocated. There are no construction moneys available for Evergreen Road in (fiscal year 2014.) But, as I have indicated above- should (money) become available Evergreen Road is positioned to receive such funds and go to construction in FFY 14,” Clough’s email states. “The STIP is a dynamic program. For any number of reasons projects get delayed thusly freeing up funds that can be made available for “illustrative” projects - which is what these projects are all about - projects positioned to take advantage of the uncertain nature of project development timelines.”

Clough then added that if other projects are shelved or found not to be ready for construction Evergreen might make it back onto the list for funding.

“The obvious question - what is the likelihood of project slippage allowing Evergreen Road to get funded for FFY 14?” Clough states. “I do not have an answer at this time. Best guess, based on past experience with STIP projects and status of any number of current projects - 50/50 or better.”

ADOT informed the Borough on Wednesday, Dec. 12 that the project was no longer being considered for funding due to an effort by the state to reduce spending.

While the construction has been de-funded, Rooney added that funding for the design of the project would be continued.

“It will allow our project to (be) a shelf-ready project so that, in the event any of the other projects which are funded aren’t ready then our project would be funded,” Rooney added.

 

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