ROADS/BRIDGES: Alaska DOT head forced to resign after arguing with governor

Jan. 13, 2015

Transportation Commissioner Kemp wanted to keep mega projects moving to avoid offering refund to feds

The governor of Alaska wants to pull back on some road and bridge projects in the state, which has forced the transportation commissioner to pull out.

Patrick Kemp has resigned following the disagreement over the transportation projects. Deputy Commissioner John Binder will take over as the Alaska DOT chief.

According to Gov. Bill Walker’s office, Kemp was asked to resign after he questioned Walker’s order to stop work on six mega projects across the state, including an access road to Juneau and the proposed Knik Arm Crossing. Alaska DOT officials said halting progress may force the state to return nearly $100 million in federal funding.

“The governor wants to make sure all of his commissioners, deputy commissioners and project managers are in line with his policies,” said Grace Jang, spokesperson for Gov. Walker. “Commissioner Kemp disagreed with the governor, and all the commissioners serve at the pleasure of the governor.”

A permanent transportation commissioner is expected to be named within the next month.

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