Two Representatives Call For Sale of Kodiak Launch Complex

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Jay Barrett/KMXT

An Anchorage and a Fairbanks representative have called for Governor Bill Walker to look into selling off the assets of the Kodiak Launch Complex, which would likely result in the dissolution of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation.

The AAC is already under orders to freeze any new spending, along with five other large projects around the state that the governor is reviewing. But now, Representative Les Gara of Anchorage and Representative Scott Kawasaki of Fairbanks are asking the governor to look into the feasibility of selling the KLC and eliminating any state spending on it. Gara cited the millions of dollars spent on the KLC and compared it to how little it gets used.

“At a time when you got a $3.5-4 billion  budget deficit, if you want to protect schools and you want to protect the middle class and working families and job opportunities, you’ve got to find things to cut that aren’t doing the state a lot of good,” Gara said. “And you know maybe a private company can run the rocket launch in a better way than losing $60-million over five years. The state’s not doing a good job at it.”

“Representative Gara has never been a supporter of Alaska Aerospace. He’s voted against our budget every year I’ve been involved with the company, so I guess I’m not surprised with his perspective,” said Alaska Aerospace President Craig Campbell. “I don’t think that it’s probably well thought out just to go ahead and try to sell the Kodiak launch complex. Normally if you’re going to sell something, you need to have a value and prospective buyers to make it worth any money. So I think the thought process is just outright selling KLC just needs more study and thought process before you come to that conclusion – if it’s a good conclusion at all.”

Gara doesn’t come right out and say Alaska Aerospace needs to be disbanded, but he comes close.

“They really wouldn’t have very much to do at that point. We would save the money of the salaries as well, right?” Gara said. “I mean if you’re going to sell the business, you sell the whole operation.”

According to Campbell, he and Gara’s share an outcome, if not a method to reach it.

“So if the objective is that Rep Gara and others don’t want to continue funding Alaska Aerospace, that is actually Alaska Aerospace’s goal as well,” Campbell said. “That’s why we have the 8-million, 6-million, 4-, 2-million reductions each year. And we’re most of the way through that. And if I can accelerate that plan to reduce the state dependency for Alaska aerospace, I want to do that.”

Gara and Kawasaki, both Democrats, sit on the House Finance Committee, and said they will urge the leadership to scrutinize Alaska Aerospace’s finances in the coming months.

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