Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – A national report card on infrastructure has been released, and Alaska got a C grade.
On ports and harbors in Alaska, a D+ grade was given, an increase from the previous D grade four years ago.
The report cards are done by the American Society of Civil Engineers, an international volunteer organization
Port Director Carl Uchityl was the author for the ports and harbors section and spoke about that on Action Line.
“We look throughout the state, there’s still challenges, but there’s a lot of reasons to be optimistic,” he said. “So, the port of Alaska, which is the port of Anchorage, still has challenges in meeting their recapitalization needs. The fact that we don’t have an Arctic deepwater port drags that down a bit, but there is movement towards known becoming a deepwater Arctic port. So in the future, I think that’ll that will trend in the right direction.”
Uchityl explained that a drag on the grade is the uncertainty in the Alaska Department of Transportation’s harbor grant program, a grant that all the small boat harbors in Alaska use.
“I’d say it was part of a deal in 2006, where the legislature recognized that municipalities as they received, the state built, small boat harbors, that they would need support to recapitalize those aging facilities, and basically that that program hasn’t been fully funded. It’s only been fully funded twice. In the last since inception in 2006.”
However, cruise development in southeast helped the grade.
“When we did four years ago, we were at a D. I think having the recapitalization of the cruise ship docks in Juneau and in Ward Cove and Hoonah, all those things helped to push those numbers up.”