Recent polls show weak support for Knik Arm Bridge

April 8th, 2012

Two separate March 2012 polls show weak support for the Knik Arm Bridge with only 37% to 39% supporting the project.

A statewide Dittman poll done for the House legislative majority shows that 84% of Alaskans have heard of the project. When those Alaskans aware of the project were asked their opinion, only 37% believe that now is a good time to build the Bridge, 58% said later or never, and only 5% were unsure, see questions 18 & 19.

Because some officials, including Anchorage Mayor Sullivan, have publicly supported having the state pay for a non-toll bridge, a separate statewide survey done by Ivan Moore tested whether Alaska believed the state should spend $1 billion to construct a two lane, no toll Bridge. Statewide 48% of Alaskans in Moore’s poll oppose the state spending a billion dollars for the Bridge, 39% were in favor and less than 14% were not sure.

Opposition to the state expenditure in the Moore poll was across the political spectrum with more conservatives, moderates, and progressives opposing the state expenditure than favoring it, see

The $1 Billion number used in the Moore poll comes from$1.086 Billion number in the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority Financial (KABATA) Financial Plan submitted in December 2011 to the federal government asking for a low cost $308 million loan. The $ 1.086 Billion number represents KABATA’s estimate of what the state would pay up front to construct the Bridge and includes no financing costs but does include receipt of the federal loan that KABATA has been turned down for three times.

An alternative, independent estimate of Bridge costs that does not include the $308 million loan but does include financing costs and a more realistic toll estimate from independent sources, calculates cumulative Bridge deficits at $2.5 Billion under KABATA’s current public private partnership structure.