Alaska gov. pushes to fund science center

JUNEAU, Alaska, April 9 (UPI) -- Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell said he'd push to finance a new university science center in Fairbanks now rather than wait for a public vote on a bond measure.

The state needs jobs now and waiting to put a bond measure before voters could make the project more costly, Parnell said in an e-mail to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.


A state Senate committee removed the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, project from the state's capital budget Wednesday, suggesting some or all of the project's funding would be put in a bond package to be voted on later this year. Bonds require voter approval.

Parnell, who succeeded Sarah Palin July 26 after she resigned, said he was "disappointed in the Senate Finance Committee's action in removing this important project from their budget plan."

"If we wait for passage of a general-obligation bond, the rates available at the time will likely make the project more costly for Alaskans," his e-mail said.

And waiting to finance the $109 million life sciences center would prevent the state from putting crews to work this summer, he said.

"I will continue to push for (financing now) because we need the jobs now and because it makes financial sense," Parnell said.

University of Alaska leaders, who made the science center their only request for new construction funding this year, said they worried the public would reject a financing package.

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