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Sullivan, Senate EPW Advance $287 Billion Infrastructure Authorization Bill

Jul 31, 2019 | Monitor

WASHINGTON, DC–US Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and his colleagues on the Environment & Public Works Committee marked up and advanced the America Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 (ATIA), a bill authorizing $287 billion from the Highway Trust Fund from Fiscal Year 2021 through 2025, and $3.2 billion for Alaska over five years.

“As one of the youngest and most infrastructure-poor states in the country, Alaska relies heavily on the support of federal transportation dollars to expand and maintain access to our communities and provide economic opportunity for Alaskans,” said Senator Sullivan. “This infrastructure authorization is a major boost for Alaska, even beyond the significant wins and funding we achieved in the 2015 FAST Act. ATIA provides robust support for transportation in Alaska, including ferries, highways and bridges; streamlines regulations on projects; and ensures communities have access to funds and grants to meet their own unique infrastructure needs. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and House and members of the Administration to secure these provisions in the final bill.”

In addition to the significant overall funding authorization for the state, ATIA includes a number of crucial provisions for Alaska. ATIA:

· Increases funding for the National Ferry Program to $90 million by FY 2025 for the construction of ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities, a significant portion of which would benefit Alaska.

· Authorizes $2.975 billion for the Tribal Transportation Program over five years, a 22 percent increase beyond the FAST Act.

· Provides new flexibility to apply funding to rural barge landing, dock, and waterfront projects.

· Reinstates the authorization for the Shakwak Project, an agreement between the US and Canada to reconstruct and maintain the 325 miles of the Haines Road and the Alaska Highway within Canada.

· Authorizes $30 million per year for tribes to address high priority or emergency projects.

· Implements the President’s “one federal decision” policy for major transportation infrastructure projects and sets a two-year average goal for permitting major infrastructure projects to expedite project construction.

· Increases funding for Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grants by $5.5 billion over five years.

· Authorizes more than $6 billion over five years for a competitive bridge program to address the backlog of bridges in poor condition.

· Invests $4.93 billion over five years in a new program to ensure the resiliency of bridges and roads impacted by natural disasters, like wildfires and floods.

Below is a breakdown of Alaska’s share of the formula federal highway funding through Fiscal Year 2025:

· FY 2020 (FAST Act) $555 million

· FY 2021 (ATIA) $613 million

· FY 2022 (ATIA) $625 million

· FY 2023 (ATIA) $638 million

· FY 2024 (ATIA) $652 million

· FY 2025 (ATIA) $665 million

ATIA represents a 27 percent increase beyond the previous six-year highway authorization, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, passed and signed into law in 2015.

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