Bills to appropriate $150 million from the Alaska general fund for the Knik Arm Crossing bridge project advanced from a Senate committee this week.

The Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority has been planning the span, which would link Anchorage with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, since 2003.

Late in 2010, KABATA received a formal record of decision from the Federal Highway Administration to approve the route of the bridge.

The project was originally envisioned to be user-financed through tolls, and later via a public-private partnership.

Now authority leaders say they need state general fund support to get the project off the ground. SB 79 would appropriate $150 million to the project, and companion bill SB 80 would declare that monetary obligations the authority incurs are obligations of the state, subject to appropriation.

The Senate Transportation Committee approved the bills Tuesday and referred them to the Finance Committee.

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