Begich Delivers Recovery Act Status ReportAlaska already seeing benefits of stimulus dollars
Just over 200 days after President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), U.S. Sen. Mark Begich said Alaska is beginning to see the benefits. Begich released an "Alaska Status Report" on success of the ARRA so far at a news conference in Anchorage, Sept. 25.
"Today, when you look at the first quarter results for Alaska, the outcome is better than expected," Begich said. "At the time we were projecting Alaska would receive around $1 billion in funding. Today, more than $1.5 billion has been awarded."
Begich said more than 400 projects in Alaska have been funded and the state leads the nation in per capita funding from ARRA, at more than $2,000 per person. Begich cited such projects as money to UAF for a new Arctic research vessel and $150 million the long-overdue hospital replacement in Nome as evidence of success.
"The benefits have been statewide, from small rural communities like Emmonak and Anvik to the urban areas of Anchorage and Fairbanks," Begich said.
Other highlights of ARRA funding for Alaska include:
· Almost $200 million to the State for highway improvements, including $14 million along the Glenn Highway.
· $245 million for infrastructure improvements on Alaska military bases.
· $44 million for rural water and sewer projects
· $26 million for the Alaska Railroad for track rehabilitation and other improvements
· Funding for 26 health centers including a new Nome hospital
· $59 million in housing grants for Alaska Native tribes
· $1.4 million for a new landfill in Emmonak
"Bottom line - is what this means is jobs for Alaskans across the state," Begich said. "We already saw significant construction impact this season and we'll see much more next summer as contracts are awarded this winter."
Begich highlighted other areas of the Recovery Act that have put cash in Alaskans' pockets including the Making Work Pay tax credits, which have been accessed by almost 300,000 Alaska families; the $8,000 new home buyer tax credit; and the $250,000 small business tax write-off for capital investments and equipment purchases in 2009.
Begich said almost 30 Alaska small businesses have received Recovery Act loans totaling $10 million to help build their businesses.
"We all know small businesses are the engine of our economy here in Alaska. They have the hardest time when an economy retracts," he said.
The Alaska Status Report also highlights the help for Alaskans to cut energy bills and invest in clean energy. The funding includes:
· $28 million for State Energy Program
· $18 million for Weatherization Program
· $18 million for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program
Begich was the only member of the Alaska delegation who voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Go to www.begich.gov and www.recovery.gov for more information.
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