Capital Budget Passes Senate
JUNEAU – A final capital budget passed the Senate today by a vote of 15 to 4.
“Today’s Senate action is welcome news for Alaskans who depend on safe roads and infrastructure,” said Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River. “By leveraging federal highway funds, we realize a 10 to 1 return for general fund dollars that we invest around the state.”
“Our construction sector is already suffering job losses and uncertainty across Alaska,” said Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna. “Providing clarity and certainty in our capital projects spending will allow the Department of Transportation to move forward with confidence in authorizing final work for this summer’s construction season and beginning planning for next year.”
The capital budget allocates $121 million from the general fund and authorizes the state expenditure of $1.2 billion in federal funds for capital improvements statewide including road repairs, bridge upgrades and school facilities. Additional appropriations for community assistance and other items brings the total general fund allocation to $157 million. This includes:
- $8 million for the Community Assistance Program, for a total distribution of $38 million;
- $7 million more toward the Kivalina K-12 replacement school, on top of the $43 million investment made by the Legislature in Fiscal Year 2016;
- $7 million in re-appropriation funds for the Arctic Strategic Transportation and Resources (ASTAR) project; and
- $20 million to pay down the state’s oil and gas tax credit liability, in addition to the $57 million appropriation in the operating budget. While the legislature has ended the oil and gas tax credit program, the Senate remains committed to settling the accrued unpaid tax credits from prior years.