Audit Deems KABATA Project “Unreasonably Optimistic”

An audit of the Knik Arm bridge finds that the agency handling the project has “overstated” its traffic forecasts. Government auditors expect substantially less toll revenue as a result, leaving the state at risk of having to make up the shortfall.

The bridge, which would link Anchorage to Port MacKenzie, has a price tag of $1.6 billion dollars. The Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority – the agency behind the project – anticipates that it would pay for itself within 30 years of being built through driver tolls. But the audit released on Saturday says that KABATA’s financial plan is “unreasonably optimistic” and that it’s based on inflated population estimates for the area.

KABATA is disputing the report, saying that the auditors failed to factor in potential development of the Port MacKenzie area.

A bill advancing the project is scheduled for a vote on the House floor tonight (Monday).

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