Sen. Dan Sullivan discusses Nome deep-draft port funding

Dan Sullivan in Western Alaska
Sen. Dan Sullivan toured Western Alaska communities during his October 2022 visit to the region. (Courtesy Kate Wolgemuth)

During his recent visit to Nome, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan informed residents that funding is secured to build the Arctic Deep Draft Port. He also alluded to the strong possibility of the City of Nome having a smaller financial obligation than previously required.

“And we’re going to build (the Arctic Deep Draft Port) now. We’ve got the money… no more talk on this. This is going to be a big project. It’s going to create a lot of jobs in the region,” Sullivan said.

Based on the cost share agreement for phase one of the project, the City of Nome is expected to pay $83 million of the $333 million price tag. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will cover $250 million. That was announced back in January.

In addition, the city will have to cover the cost of constructing local service facilities at roughly $92 million. That puts Nome’s total share so far at $175.3 million, the amount the state Legislature awarded to the city earlier this year. City Manager Glenn Steckman received and signed off on those funds in September.

Despite having the necessary money already secured, the City of Nome might be able to save some of its cost share agreement with the Corps. Sen. Sullivan is pushing for Congress to pass the 2022 Water Resources Development Act, or WRDA. This version of the bill has already passed the Senate with a provision to reduce Nome’s cost share, potentially saving the community $132 million.

Earlier in 2022, Nome’s City Council advocated for a 90-10% cost share, with the city footing 10% of the $333 million and the federal government covering the rest.

The current version of the WRDA 2022 bill must now go back to the U.S. House of Representatives to resolve any differences. While changes to the cost-share can still happen, Sullivan is confident Congress will recognize the benefits of having an Arctic Deep Draft Port in Nome.

“That’s going to be good for our economic interests, our national security interests, our environmental interests,” Sullivan said. “If there’s a tanker that crashes or runs ashore in the Bering Strait, we need to be able to respond to that. So it’s not just national security but also the ability to have icebreakers here, navy ships here; that’s all going to be able to happen now.”

Sullivan spent three days in Western Alaska, stopping in Unalakleet, Golovin and Nome to assess storm damage from ex-typhoon Merbok and speak with residents directly about a variety of issues.

Davis Hovey is a news reporter at KNOM - Nome.

Hovey was born and raised in Virginia. He spent most of his childhood in Greene County 20 minutes outside of Charlottesville where University of Virginia is located.

Hovis was drawn in by the opportunity to work for a radio station in a remote, unique place like Nome Alaska. Hovis went to Syracuse University, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Broadcast Digital Journalism.

Previous articleHAARP campaign’s projects range from Jupiter to the moon
Next article‘Support us and our community’: Whale Pass students ask state to stop timber clear-cut