Legislature Finally Passes Capital Budget
Dear Friends, Neighbors, and fellow Fairbanksans:
Yesterday, July 27, the Legislature finally passed SB 23, the capital budget, which funds infrastructure projects across the state. I joined the majority of my House colleagues, who voted in favor 27 to 13. The Senate vote was 15-4. I'm glad the Legislature passed this bill before August 1, after which the Governor said projects could be delayed. This capital budget will create some much needed jobs in the Fairbanks area and around the state.
With a state investment of only $121 million, SB 23 leverages almost $1.2 billion in federal matching funds. $1.078 billion of these federal dollars are planned for Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) road and airport projects already in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). This year the capital budget included a new way of allocating federal money that will allow DOT some flexibility should projects become delayed for whatever reason; but the current plan for this federal money being distributed in the Fairbanks area includes:
In addition, SB 23 included:
Note: Passage of the capital budget did not include an additional appropriation to the Permanent Fund Dividend Program.
The Legislature’s Job Is Not Done – Alaska Needs a Fiscal Plan
The only thing left on the Legislature’s agenda is the most important: a sustainable fiscal plan. I believe the Governor will call a final special session later this Fall for the Legislature to consider a fiscal plan. The Legislature has reached consensus on Oil and Gas taxes and now also on the capital budget: let’s hope this is a harbinger of further compromise on a fiscal plan – compromise the future of the great state of Alaska depends on.