By: Elwood Brehmer
Alaska Journal of Commerce
After nearly six years in court, a lawsuit against the federal government worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Anchorage currently hinges on whether or not a commonly invoked working pact can constitute a binding agreement.
Attorneys for the Municipality of Anchorage and the U.S. Maritime Administration spent Feb. 18-19 in a San Francisco courtroom sparring over the enforceability of a memorandum of understanding officials for the city government and federal agency signed in 2003 to coordinate work on the since-failed Port of Anchorage Intermodal Expansion Project.
Department of Justice attorneys representing the Maritime Administration, commonly referred to as MARAD, argued that Congress tasked the agency with managing the project through language in a February 2003 omnibus federal spending bill that allowed MARAD to accept and spend state and local money on the work, according to transcripts of the proceedings.
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