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Walker reduces amount available for oil tax credits

Jul 01, 2015 -- 10:30am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Gov. Bill Walker has reduced by $200 million the amount available to pay for oil tax credits this fiscal year. In a letter to legislative leaders, Walker said the state will continue funding credits this year but at a slower pace, until a more sustainable credit system is developed or the state financial situation improves. The new fiscal year started Wednesday. He used his veto power to reduce from $700 million to $500 million the amount available to pay the credits. Democrats had similarly pushed for a delay in paying the credits during the budget debate, but majority Republicans balked. Walker also rejected several capital project reappropriations, including $175,000 to the group Arctic Power to promote Arctic energy issues. Walker said the administration will look for a more effective approach.

Juneau airport ready to use resurfaced runway

Jul 01, 2015 -- 10:15am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A runway resurfacing project years in the making has recently been completed at Juneau International Airport. The Juneau Empire reports that Wednesday is the first day planes will land on the refurbished runway. They have been using the airport's taxiway as a temporary runway since work began in April. Airport manager Patricia deLaBruere says the runway was last resurfaced in 1997 and had needed an update for years. The airport began planning for the project a year and a half ago and moved it higher on the list. Construction crews removed three inches of old asphalt from the runway and laid down five inches of new asphalt. The new runway boasts a surface that encourages runoff by sloping down slightly from the center. There are also grooves across the blacktop.

Mat-Su cuts price of unused ferry after years without buyer

Jul 01, 2015 -- 10:00am
- PALMER, Alaska (AP) - The Matanuska-Susitna Borough still hasn't found anyone interested in buying their M/V Susitna ferry, but officials hope knocking a few million dollars from the price should help. KTVA-TV reports that the asking price for the navy vessel turned ferry has dropped from $6 million to $5 million and now the borough is only asking $2 million. Borough manager John Moosey says the Borough is doing whatever it can to sell the M/V Susitna, which he says has been a huge money pit. The 195-foot Susitna was built when the borough wanted to star Knik Arm ferry service. The ship has been for sale since the project fell through. Additionally, the borough owes the Federal Transit Administration more than $12 million for the project.

Towing company offers free service for Sockeye Fire victims

Jul 01, 2015 -- 9:45am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A Wasilla towing company is offering help to Willow residents affected by the Sockeye Fire. KTVA-TV reports that Metal in Motion Towing is offering to pick up metal that is leftover from the fire, such as cars, trucks, water heaters, metal roofs and ant other scrap free of charge. Co-owner John Rice says burnt vehicles will be bundled and sold for scrap but that the company will pay for other metal such as copper pipes if people bring those to their lot. 

Removal of Alaska plane wreckage weeks away

Jul 01, 2015 -- 9:30am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - It could be weeks before the wreckage of a sightseeing plane that crashed in steep, rugged terrain in southeast Alaska, killing nine people, is recovered. National Transportation Safety Board investigator Clint Johnson said authorities were waiting for a helicopter capable of lifting the parts to become available. He said that process could take three weeks. Johnson said NTSB investigators were trying to wrap up their on-scene work Tuesday. He said a preliminary report on the crash could be released as early as Friday. But he said it would only contain basic information. Eight cruise ship passengers on a flightseeing shore excursion were killed along with their pilot when their plane went down Thursday in Misty Fjords National Monument, near Ketchikan.

Tough budget decisions remain in Alaska

Jul 01, 2015 -- 9:15am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - It took two special sessions for Alaska legislators to agree to a budget after a crash in oil prices contributed to a severe reduction in the state's available revenue. Barring a huge rebound in oil prices, things aren't expected to get much easier. While legislators made big cuts in spending, they won't be able to repeat the same level of cuts to Alaska's infrastructure budget, for which state money was reduced largely to the amount needed to meet federal match requirements. And Legislative Finance Division Director David Teal says finding cuts in government operations is always tough. Walker spokeswoman Katie Marquette said Walker signed the operating and capital budgets late Monday. The signing was not announced, and details were not immediately released. The new fiscal year starts Wednesday.
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