Alaska among top recipients of federal infrastructure spending

WASHINGTON — A year after Congress passed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, Alaska has been allotted over $2.6 billion, making the state one of the top recipients per capita in the country.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will ultimately provide $550 billion for infrastructure improvements across the country, distributing funding over five years to improve roads, internet connectivity, and provide clean water, among other initiatives. Democrats and several Republicans supported the bill, including Alaska Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and the late Rep. Don Young.

Murkowski was part of a group that led negotiations on the bill. She called the legislation “one of the most significant measures I’ve ever worked on,” in a statement last week.

As the federal government continues to dole out infrastructure money over the next four years, Alaska is poised to receive the most funding per capita. A CNBC analysis estimated that $6,700 per resident will come into the state. Already, the bill has allotted money for over 300 projects in Alaska.

Some of the top-funded projects include:

• $363 million to improve highways in Alaska.

• $250 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to expand at the Port of Nome, including deeper dredging.

• $209 million for state ferry service. The bill has allocated an additional $35.6 million to the Alaska Marine Highway System for the construction of ferries and ferry terminal facilities.

• $187 million has been designated to build a new border station between Alaska and Canada near Tok.

According to the White House, $1.5 billion of infrastructure bill money has been approved to revamp Alaska bridges and roads, and so far Alaska has received about $402 million for ports and waterways.

Internet access is another focus of the bill. Several tribal groups or Alaska Native corporations have applied for a piece of the $65 billion allocated for broadband improvements. Last month, the Tanana Chiefs Conference in Interior Alaska received $30 million to develop high-speed internet. Also, according to the White House, over 12,000 Alaska households have enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program, an infrastructure law initiative that provides discounts for internet bills.

The Biden administration touts the infrastructure bill as one of its top accomplishments.

Murkowski has made implementing the bill one of her top priorities. She has hosted symposiums in Alaska to educate constituents about the grant opportunities that the legislation provides.

“Remember this was just year one of a five-year bill,” Murkowski said. “And so we’ve got to be working on that implementation all the time with folks back in the state.”


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