By Dave Donaldson
House Speaker Mike Chenault has made some changes to his bill that would accelerate an in-state gas line project – putting it in front of the House Finance Committee Monday afternoon.
The original plan put the Development Team under the direction of Alaska Railroad President and C-E-O Pat Gamble. But Gamble is no longer available – and Chenault’s Chief of Staff Tom Wright says the job can be very well done by Alaska Housing Finance Corporation director Dan Fauske.
We believe that Mr. Fauske has a lot of expertise in the financing projects such as this – and other projects. And also with the naming of General Gamble from the Railroad to be the head of the University we lost a strong leader. And putting Mr. Fauske in here we think we also have a strong personality and leader to lead the joing in-state development gasline team.
The other significant change made by Chenault would back off on the Team’s required results. Wright said there was some “consternation” about having a Construction Ready plan by July of next year. Finance Co-chair Mike Hawker that was a much more reasonable – and more flexible – goal for an ongoing project.
The only mandate, as I read this, is that the development team, it’s mission is to develop a “project plan” to the legislature a year from now. That’s the mandate. It means a lot to me when I don’t see adjectives there. It doesn’t say a “final project plan.” It doesn’t say “preliminary.” It says a “project plan.”
The administration has not yet completed the cost estimates for the Team’s work, and the bill will be available for further hearings without notice at future hearings.