The government of Canada’s Yukon Territory is asking Congress to pay for reconstruction of the Alaska Highway. Premier Darrell Pasloski was in Washington last week to make the case. The United States and Canada agreed in 1977 to work together to improve the northern section of the Highway, as well as the spur from Haines Junction to the border near Haines. The U.S. agreed to pay for construction and Canada would pay maintenance and operation. Premier Pasloski says the funding should continue.
“This has been a great deal for the U.S. Taxpayers because the U.S. Congress has put up approx 25 percent of the money into this highway, however, about 85% of the traffic is U.S. traffic,” he said.
The U.S. paid more than $400 million before Congress stopped funding in 2012. Part of the Haines road still needs resurfacing, but the bigger challenge is a long section further north, where the road is on unstable permafrost.
Matt Shuckerow , a spokesman for Alaska Congressman Don Young, says the road is a vital link between Southeast and the Interior. But the U.S. Highway Trust Fund is stretched thin, so Shuckerow says it’s not an easy sell in Washington.
“Members here in Congress have very little appetite to send money to places like Canada when in fact we lack funds to take care of our highway issues here in the United States,” he said.
Shuckerow says Young believes the U.S. should live up to its obligation to pay for the highway, but it will take sustained pressure from Canada, the state of Alaska and the Alaska congressional delegation.
- Under Alaska state law, at least 30 days’ notice is needed to hold a non-emergency special session during the interim. That would push any special session now up against the holidays.
- The Tazlina was scheduled to have new side doors installed this winter. Instead, the state ferry will provide service between Juneau and the communities of Haines, Skagway, Hoonah and Gustavus.
- Bruce Tangeman, who ran the state's Department of Revenue, also wrote that any potential new taxes would support what he called an unsustainable budget, as well as permanent fund dividends.
- The NTSB update is a detailed, seven-page statement of facts about the flight and the investigation, with sections on the runway, the flight recorders, the plane and its engines. It does not assign a cause to the crash. That's expected later.