May 14, 2021 — From Alaska Native News (by Joe Plesha) — The House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 19, which articulated the need for widespread infrastructure investment in the state of Alaska.
The resolution was sponsored by the House Labor and Commerce Committee and identified the areas of need statewide and cited the work of Congress to construct a federal infrastructure package as a mechanism for investment.
“It’s essential we help our congressional delegation make their case when fighting for our share of federal funding,” said Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage), a co-chair of the committee that drafted the bill. “Federal investment helped build this state and Alaska can’t continue to fall behind when it comes to maintaining our infrastructure.”
“Alaska would be a prime beneficiary of federal investment in infrastructure now that it’s been almost a decade since we’ve had a robust capital budget,” added Rep. Zack Fields (D-Anchorage), also a committee co-chair.
Some of Alaska’s infrastructure needs include:
- a $2 billion deficit for State of Alaska facilities, including within the University of Alaska;
- the Port of Alaska in Anchorage to ensure it will be able to continue to serve as a military strategic port that meets national security needs;
- upgrades and maintenance to the Alaska Marine Highway System and to rural airports;
- installing adequate water and waste water access to 3,300 homes in 30 communities;
- broadband access for rural Alaska;
- investment in renewable energy projects throughout Alaska to provide low cost sustainable energy
HJR 19 received broad support, including from the Associated General Contractors of Alaska, Alaska Telecom Association, Alaska Power Association, and Port of Alaska in Anchorage. The resolution passed the House on a 30-9 vote and now goes to the Senate for consideration.