KNIK ARM BRIDGE

Governor Bill Walker, Commissioner Pat Kemp at odds on Knik Arm Bridge, Juneau Access Road

The head of the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Commissioner Pat Kemp, stepped down yesterday. Governor Bill Walker’s spokesperson Grace Jang says Walker accepted Kemp’s resignation because in a memo to the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Kemp expressed views contrary to the Governor’s philosophy and decisions.

Gov. Walker cuts former Governor's infrastructure budget in half

By Alexandra Guttierrez, Alaska Public Radio Network

By law, Alaska's governor is required to submit a budget by Dec. 15. Having been in office for only two weeks, Gov. BIll Walker (Unaffiliated) opted to submit his predessor's $5.2 billion operating budget Monday, without endorsement. But he did make some changes to former Gov. Sean Parnell's (Republican) capital budget.

Teams buoyed by hope, sense of new beginnings despite state's finances

This weekend, Walker-Mallott transition teams met at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. Some 230 Alaskans were grouped by topics such as oil and gas, education, fisheries, fiscal policy and health care. Their task was to work toward consensus on goals, priorities, and recommended actions for incoming Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov.-elect Byron Mallott.

A new law drops a proposed public-private partnership for Knik crossing funding. The plan now is for to use public funds, two-thirds of which will be repaid with $5 one-way tolls collected from bridge users. Funding and construction is also being transferred from the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

The state Senate passed an Omnibus Education Bill yesterday that's headed to Conference Committee, where House and Senate members will hammer out differences between their two versions of the bill. In addition to the education bill, Legislators have the Capital budget to wrap up, and several bills to consider.

Fairbanks is celebrating Earth Day.