A bill before the U.S. House of Representatives includes almost $30 million for the project. Officials say it would significantly increase the Prince of Wales Island city’s harbor capacity.
The harbor is one of 28 included in the federal Water Resources Development Act of 2016.
Matt Shuckerow, spokesman for Alaska Congressman Don Young, says the project will help Craig expand its maritime base.
“Craig has a vibrant fishing community. They’re also a very large commercial hub, for charter and recreational fishing activity. And as we’ve seen, there’s no room for expansion,” he said.
Craig’s harbor, plus one for Little Diomede, are part of a bill that passed the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last week. It still must make it through the full House and Senate before it’s sent to the president’s desk.
Craig City Administrator Jon Bolling says it’s been a long-time priority for his community. It’s at an old cannery site, which the city bought about a decade ago.
“The property we acquired from Wards Cove Parking is 10 acres, 5 acres of tidelands and 5 acres of upland. And we’ve been working through the Army Corps of Engineers small boat harbor program to qualify the project for funding through the water bill,” he said.
Craig already has about 220 slips, plus transient moorage, in two existing harbors.
Bolling says the city is working toward a flexible design.
“I’m sure we would have individual stalls, which are the conventional approach for most harbors. But because we do have a mix, like most places, for permanent and transient moorage traffic, having the longer straight runs and float space, gives us more flexibility than we would have if it was all just individual stalls,” he said.
The legislation provides about $29 million in federal funding and requires around a $3 million match. Bolling says that could be a combination of local and state funding, though he realizes the state budget crunch will have an impact.
Note: An earlier version of this report mistakenly referred to 5 acres of wetlands. The reference was to tidelands.