The Matanuska-Susitna Borough owes the Federal Transit Administration $9,287,929.
This amount is the FTA’s final determination on the ferry and port project federal grant payback matter. This decision was announced in a letter dated February 7, 2017, which was signed by Robert J. Tuccillo, Associate Administrator/Chief Financial Officer for the FTA’s Office of Budget and Policy, and sent to the MSB’s contract attorneys at Venable LLC, a Wash DC law firm.
According to the FTA’s letter, the MSB had 30 days from the date of the Feb 7, 2017, decision to either 1) pay the debt in full; 2) propose a repayment plan subject to FTA approval; or 3) make a submission to FTA regarding why it is unable to pay the full amount of the debt within a reasonable time, substantiated by financial information, and an offer to compromise the debt.
Below is the FTA’s Final Determination letter:
What the MSB has done in response to this letter is not known. This final determination was made almost ONE YEAR ago. And yet, the MSB has not made any public statements about it.
I obtained this letter from the FTA though a FOIA request and received it today.
I had to contact the FTA because the MSB was not responsive to my requests for information about this matter. (I sent the MSB – including the Attorney and Manager and PR person – an email on Dec 21st 2017 and a follow up email on Jan 4, 2018, asking if the MSB had ever resolved the Ferry/Port federal grant payback matter and the MSB did not respond at all.)
In August 2014, the FTA demanded that MSB repay $12,319,299, it had drawn from federal grants in the early 2000s for the MSB’s port and ferry project.
The MSB issued a press release about this payback demand on August 7, 2014. This press release can be found on the MSB’s website.
However, the MSB has never updated the public about the status of this matter since that 2014 press release.
The MSB hired the Venable law firm to represent us in this matter. From the Feb 7 2017 letter, it seems as if our attorneys negotiated with the FTA for almost 2 1/2 years without a lot of success. The MSB proposed to pay back $2 million. The FTA rejected this offer. The FTA did lower the amount we owed from $12 million to $9 million.
Why doesn’t the MSB give the public status updates re: this matter?