• Sat. May 21st, 2022

Alaska continues to learn what federal infrastructure bill will look like for the state

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – The Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is expected to have a big impact on Alaska over the next five yearsbut forecasting how the money will be spent in Alaska is still a work in progress.

For the past two months, Miles Baker has worked as the Alaska Infrastructure Investment Coordinator, appointed by Governor Mike Dunleavy. Baker made a presentation on the infrastructure bill for the House Finance Committee on Thursday.

“There’s a lot more we don’t know about this bill,” Baker said. “It’s a very big bill.”

While Presentation of the bakerhe explained how the infrastructure bill is different from previous federal money that has recently flowed through the state — like those from the CARES Act.

“These were really designed to get the money out quickly. It’s basically a five-year reauthorization of established federal programs,” Baker said.

He added that a majority of these funds will come from existing programs. For example, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Facilities will see an increase in its existing formula funds.

“There are a lot of transportation needs in this state,” said department commissioner Ryan Anderson. “So in short, we are accelerating some things to make sure that this year you will see an increase in construction there and it is mainly the projects that were planned for the construction of 2023 that we can move forward into 2022. “

They also received $45 million in the first year for bridge repairs, and Anderson said a lot of bridge work would be done across the state with that funding. He added that they are still awaiting further direction on their funding from the federal government.

The infrastructure bill will provide opportunities for new spending, such as the Denali Commission, which received $75 million in federal funds. The group was created in 1998 by the late Senator Ted Stevens and aims to fund economic development and infrastructure in rural Alaska.

“I encourage people to think about this bill, not as a stimulus package,” Denali Commission federal co-chair Garrett said. Boyle. “…This is a long-term investment in infrastructure. So these are agencies that receive a lot of money, but over a period of five years. … We’re not going to see this huge, dramatic impact, I don’t think it’s all in one year, but we’ll see a good steady impact over five years.

There are six commissioners on the Denali Commission’s board of directors, and Boyle said they provide strategic direction and discuss how they can approach spending the money.

Copyright 2022 KTUU. All rights reserved.