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Volcano Monitoring, Transportation Improvements Funded in Recovery Act

Alaska Targeted as high-risk area for volcano activity

Alaska continues to reap the benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) with news that the state will receive more than $7.5 million for the Alaska Volcano Observatory and nearly $10 million for transportation improvements in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich joined officials with the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Transportation in announcing the funding Aug. 13.

"As summer turns to fall we are seeing real dollars flowing to our state making a difference when it comes to public safety, enhanced transportation, funding for housing, and a variety of other areas," Sen. Begich said. "Jobs are being created or saved, the economy sees an increase in activity and the overall quality of life will be improved for Alaskans as we see the benefits of the Recovery Act money."

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced funding today for two major projects in Alaska:
·         The Municipality of Anchorage is receiving $5.9 million for 15 vans and (5) 40-foot buses along with dollars to construct bus shelters and do preventative maintenance.
·         The State Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is receiving $3.5 million for enhanced safety equipment and upgrades at Fairbanks International Airport.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the U.S. Geological Survey is planning to use $15.2 million of ARRA funds to upgrade volcano monitoring and the analysis and distribution of eruption information at five volcano observatories that cover Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, the Northwest, and California, as well as the network that covers the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Alaska Volcano Observatory is receiving $7.56 million of that money.

"Alaskans know the value and importance of volcano monitoring," Begich said. "Watching Redoubt's activity for three months this year, which brought with it occasional flight cancellations and ash dustings, this money is critical to keeping our communities safe and the economy ready to react to volcanic activity."

For more information, go to USGS Volcano Hazards Program at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov and the Alaska Volcano Observatory at http://avo.alaska.edu.

August 13, 2009

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