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Thomas Francisco “Cisco” Martinez Jr., 54, died Jan. 5, 2018, in Juneau. He was born Aug. 21, 1963, in Ketchikan.
Knik Arm bridge data gets review

ANCHORAGE (AP) — A hired consultant will independently review the socioeconomics data used by the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority for the proposed span over Cook Inlet’s Knik Arm.

The bridge and toll authority said in a written statement that Australia-based consulting firm Cardno Inc. will conduct the study by Sept. 30. The price of the contract is between $100,000 and $150,000.

An Anchorage planning firm, Agnew Beck, will assist. There’s no cost associated with their work yet since a losing bidder is challenging their selection, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Shannon McCarthy, spokeswoman for the bridge and toll authority, said the review was the authority’s response to a legislative audit, which in April criticized the authority’s traffic and toll studies as too optimistic for the toll bridge linking Anchorage to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

The authority asked lawmakers this year to back the project with a maximum obligation of $1.1 billion if toll revenues fall short or the bridge is damaged before it was paid off.

But the legislative audit weakened support at the Legislature, and a bill to move the project to the Alaska Housing Financing Corp. failed to pass the Senate.

McCarthy said the new study is to provide an "independent peer review" of their numbers.

Rep. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, supported moving the project to the housing corporation and said the authority’s credibility is damaged. She said the study doesn’t go far enough, and should also review the authority’s traffic estimates, not just population and economic data.