JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today unanimously passed a capital budget for fiscal year 2020.
The budget includes $174 million in unrestricted general funds (UGF) to leverage over $1 billion in federal funds for roads, highways, airports, and clean water for villages.
“This budget prioritizes the public health and safety of Alaskans,” said Senator Natasha von Imhof, R-Anchorage, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “This is a small capital budget compared to previous years, especially for a state that’s 663,000 square miles – or the size of about one-third of the U.S. – has nearly 7,000 miles of coastline, hundreds of airports and many communities only accessible by air, boat or dogsled. This massive geographical expanse, with transportation challenges, costs money to build roads, schools, health clinics and provide public safety.”
Some of the key items in the capital budget include:
$71 million for statewide deferred maintenance;
$25 million in receipt authority for the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation to allow the corporation to accept private funds to finish the federal permitting process;
$16.5 million for the Alaska Marine Highway System for ferry vessel overhaul;
$12 million to access $52 million in federal funds for village safe water projects;
$2.5 million to Arctic Strategic Transportation and Resources to connect North Slope communities to resources;
$2 million in federal receipt authority for the Department of Natural Resources to address the Spruce Beetle infestation; and
$60,000 to access $6 million in federal funding for community block grants.
“This capital budget maximizes federal matching funds to boost investment in Alaska,” Sen. von Imhof added. “Capital projects attract outside investment, provide jobs and ensure continued freedom of movement – one of our most cherished liberties. This capital budget gets the job done.”
Senate Bill 19 passed the Senate by a 20-0 vote and now goes to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.