Bill to Boost Infrastructure Development in Arctic Unanimously Passes Senate
SB140 creates incentives for private building of ports, roads, and other critical projects in Arctic
JUNEAU-Today, the Alaska State Senate passed Senate Bill 140, sponsored by Senator Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage), which is designed to boost infrastructure development in the Arctic. As Co-Chairs of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission (AAPC), Senator McGuire and Representative Bob Herron (D-Bethel) developed the idea behind SB140 during the commission’s multiple meetings around the state over the past year.
“This bill is the culmination of hundreds of hours of work by the members of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission,” said Senator McGuire. “As we traveled the state to listen to the people in the communities, the one recurring theme was the need for Arctic infrastructure. This bill sends the message to the Federal Government that we feel fortifying and strengthening our assets in the Arctic is critical and we are not afraid to lead this massive undertaking.”
SB 140 creates incentives to attract private investment to build much needed ports, roads, emergency response systems and telecommunications projects in the vast expanse of the Alaskan Arctic and its many communities by authorizing the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) to offer several financing options aimed at building public-private partnerships for the development of infrastructure in the Arctic.
The financing mechanisms in the bill are modeled after the Sustainable Energy Transmission and Supply Development Fund (SETS) that was created by Senator McGuire in 2012. The SETS fund is currently leading to the first commercialization of Alaska’s North Slope natural gas while bringing much needed energy relief to Interior Alaska in the form of LNG trucking to Fairbanks.
“This bill gives AIDEA the tools it needs to reach out to the people who are looking to invest in the North. Right now, there is an estimated $100 billion of private capital that is looking for investment opportunities in the Arctic,” said Senator McGuire. “Alaska is what makes the U.S. an Arctic Nation. This bill helps establish Alaska, and by extension the U.S., as a leader in the Arctic and positions us to capitalize on the massive new opportunities and challenges coming our way such as shipping, tourism, safety, and responsible resource development.”
For more information about the AAPC’s mission and work, click here.
SB140 now heads to the House for further consideration.