The Anchorage Planning and Zoning Commission received a revised cost estimate of $2.6 Billion for the proposed state guarantee to backstop the Bridge’s expected toll shortfall from financial analyst Jamie Kenworthy, see The Real Finances of the Knik Arm Bridge (updated on January 9, 2012).
The P&Z Commission will deliberate further on Anchorage’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) on January 30, 2012. Kenworthy’s paper estimates that $1.1 Billion of the Bridge deficit will occur by 2035 or about half the funds that the draft MTP identifies as needed for road projects in the Anchorage area before 2035. Click here for the latest draft of the MTP.
Three recent developments have solidified Kenworthy’s Bridge deficit estimate:
1. In 2011, the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) was turned down for a $308 million low cost federal TIFIA loan and a $45 Million federal TIGER grant. Both the low cost federal loan and the grant are included in KABATA’s financial plan and the draft MTP. Click here for a copy of KABATA’s latest Bridge financials.
2. In November, in response to concerns that the Bridge would exacerbate Cook Inlet siltation challenges that would impact “essential fish habitat” and further limit shipping access, KABATA signed an agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers to expand the span of the Bridge from 8200′ to 9200′. Click here for a copy of the KABATA’s permit application with the Corps of Engineers.
3. KABATA’s financial plan and the financial information stated in the draft MTP continue to include the revenue from 4 lanes of toll revenue but only the cost of a 2 lane Bridge. At around 18,000 trips a day, a road needs to move to 4 lanes to accommodate traffic flow. In October in its failed federal loan application, KABATA toll projections showed over 18,000 trips a day in 2022 but no Phase 2 to expand the Bridge and approach roads until 2030 when KABATA projects 30,300 trips across the Bridge. Last week, a KABATA representative told the Muni
that the contractor would pay for Phase 2 so the draft MTP need not include the full capital cost of the 4 lane project. The current MTP shows full capital costs for all other projects.
Finally, this month Senator Coburn (R-OK) cited the release to KABATA by the Federal Highway Administration of $15.3 Million in right of way funds as project #6 in his “2011 Wastebook“, his list of the top 100 wasteful federal projects.