$125 million in federal COVID-19 aid authorized by lawmakers

Second meeting planned to allocate additional federal CARES Act money to Alaskans

JUNEAU – The Legislative Budget and Audit Committee voted this afternoon to authorize $125 million in federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Follow-up action is expected soon to get additional federal funds out to Alaskans and organizations that need help, but the first wave of money will go toward a variety of programs adversely impacted by COVID-19.

“We thank everyone for rising above politics and working together as Alaskans to get funding out to those who need it as quickly as possible,” said Representative Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage). “Today’s action was a significant first step, and the committee continues to work overtime to review the governor’s revised proposal that was released this morning.”

The LB&A Committee approved several spending proposals through the Revised Program Legislative procedure, including:

• $45 million for K-12 education;

• $42 million for child nutrition programs;

• $29 million for rural transportation costs, including the Alaska Marine Highway System (Anchorage and Fairbanks receive federal funds separately);

• $5 million for University of Alaska;

• $3.6 million for state and local law enforcement.

Additional time is needed to ensure that the full $1.25 billion provided to Alaska through the CARES Act is spent effectively. The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 6, at 1 p.m.

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