Gov. Mike Dunleavy visited Nome for continued discussion of the port expansion project.
For years, there has been discussion of the Deep Draft Port, and the visit of the governor brings a sense of increased interest and energy to the project.
“If you get a port here obviously you can take in a lot more traffic, which hopefully means more jobs, more commerce for the area here, whether its servicing smaller cruise ship lines that are coming over the northwest passage, whether it’s helping the folks here that are doing some mining, potential Coast Guard work in the future,” Dunleavy said.
While the port may be able to bring some positive economic commerce to the region, infrastructure and funding issues remain. Dunleavy noted that for more progress to occur, time must pass while a federal infrastructure bill is debated.
In the Capitol, there are varying opinions on what this bill should look like.
Dunleavy said that the bill may be pivotal for motion of the project in Nome, but also stated that agreement in Washington is “not going to be an easy task.” Dunleavy said there are a lot of different opinions about what the infrastructure bill will look like, and it may take some time for the details to be hashed out before it is passed.
While the federal bill is debated, the progress for the project in Nome may wait to see if and when funding comes from this federal bill to aid in funding for the infrastructure of the expansion.
As time passes, the factors working to create the deep draft port will continue to advance. Construction and design phases could still take more than five years.
Image at top: Gov. Mike Dunleavy with KNOM’s Sean Milligan and The Nome Nugget’s Julia Lerner. Photo by Davis Hovey, used with permission (2021).