Senator Dan Sullivan discusses Deep Draft Port funding in Nome

During his visit to Nome the week of Oct. 16, Senator Dan Sullivan informed residents that funding is secured to build the Arctic Deep Draft Port. The Senator 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 explained.

Based on the cost share agreement for phase one of the project, the City of Nome is expected to pay for $83,000,000 of the $333-million price tag. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will cover $250 million. That was announced back in January 2022.

In addition, the city will have to cover the cost of constructing local service facilities at roughly $92,000,000. That puts Nome’s total share so far at $175,300,000 which is the amount the Alaska 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. Senator Sullivan is pushing for Congress to pass the 2022 Water Resources Development Act, or WRDA, he told KNOM on Oct. 25. 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 dollars.

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. 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,” Senator Sullivan said.

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.

Image at top: Senator Dan Sullivan on his recent visit to Unalakleet, Golovin and Nome in October, 2022.
Photo from Ben Dietderich, used with permission.