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Guest on The Infra Blog: Dan Sullivan, Mayor of Anchorage

Posted by Steve Anderson on Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Dan Sullivan, Mayor of AnchorageMayor Dan Sullivan is a lifelong, 4th generation Alaskan.  He is a 1969 graduate of West High School and earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Oregon.  His wife Lynnette is an award winning elementary school teacher and they have one daughter, Jennifer.

Mayor Sullivan is the founding partner in McGinley’s Pub and worked previously in recreational management and as a business and government affairs consultant.  He served for three years as the Executive Director of the highly successful 1996 Arctic Winter Games held in Chugiak and Eagle River.

Mayor Sullivan was elected to the Anchorage Assembly in 1999 where he served three terms, including serving as Chairman during the 2006-2007 term.  He was elected Mayor in 2009 and re-elected to his second and final term in 2012.

Looking Locally for Infrastructure Funding
Here we are, a country with pretty extreme debt, at these days $17 trillion and counting, so there’s going to be more and more pressure not to spend money rather than pressure to spend more money…I think our dependency on federal dollars coming in is going to decline, and so we just have to start taking care of our own needs.

The Port of Anchorage Modernization Project
The Port of Anchorage is actually nicknamed the “Port of Alaska” because over 90% of all the goods that come into the state of Alaska pass through the Port of Anchorage…For both the civilian and for the military needs, this is a key piece and vital piece of infrastructure for the entire state.

The Frustration with Federal Funding
I think there is a general sense that the infrastructure of the United States, whether it’s roads, bridges, ports, dams, has not been properly maintained and there is a backlog of deferred maintenance throughout the nation that is going to become critical. The goal originally of the stimulus bills was to get shovel-ready infrastructure projects constructed, and it just doesn’t seem to have happened.

State Control of Infra is Most Effective
I think the best way for projects to get done, state-by-state, is for the states to have the lead on them. Let the states handle the design, the review, the environmental, and the construction rather than having the large hand of the federal government too much involved in these projects.

Public Input: A Delicate Balance
I’m elected to serve the citizens of my community, so their involvement…is a key part of the process. You certainly can’t ignore that, but you have to find that balance between good public input and people that are simply looking for extra layers of input to delay projects.

Download full transcript (PDF): Dan Sullivan on The Infra Blog

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