JUNEAU -- The House delayed a vote Monday night on a bill to advance the Knik Arm crossing, sending it to a rare Rules Committee hearing Tuesday.
House Majority Leader Lance Pruitt, an Anchorage Republican, said he thought the bill would end up back in the House in time for its next session later Tuesday.
The bill, House Bill 23, got into sudden trouble Saturday with the release of a legislative audit criticizing the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority's projections for revenue and traffic. The bonds for the billion-dollar-plus project would be paid out of tolls, but the state would be responsible for making up the shortfall if traffic failed to meet projections.
The bill was supposed to be heard at a 6 p.m. House floor session. But a caucus by the Republican majority ran over that time. When the caucus finally broke, the bill came off the House agenda, signifying supporters lacked the votes. The House convened after 7:30 p.m. for other matters.
Lead sponsor Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake, said during a break in the evening House session that members of his caucus had questions about the project. He said officials from the toll authority were in Juneau and would be at the Rules Committee meeting Tuesday morning to provide answers and give their explanation of why they believe the legislative performance audit was flawed.
Reach Richard Mauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or in Juneau at (907) 500-7388.
By RICHARD MAUER