A pile of federal dollars are on the line as legislators negotiate the state’s capital budget and whether to restore some of the roughly $400 million Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed.
“I am certainly one who has been encouraging everyone to come together. This is pretty high stakes for all of us in the state,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said this week.
With the vetoes, the state will forfeit at least $22 million from the federal government. Some of the vetoes will cost the state more in federal dollars than they’ll save in state funds.
But the really big deal is the transportation money. Alaska could lose up to a billion federal dollars if the state doesn’t fund its share in the capital budget by the end of the month.
Murkowski says she hopes legislators can restore some of the vetoed programs. Meanwhile, she and her staff are trying to identify which federal dollars could be lost and what the deadlines are.
“Accounts and programs are a little bit different in terms of timing, what happens in terms of state match, whether there are opportunities for waiver or delay for that. There’s a lot in the mix. So we’re busy on this end,” she said.
Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said in an emailed statement from his office that he’s optimistic state legislators and the governor can reach agreement on the capital budget and avoid losing federal infrastructure money. Alaska Congressman Don Young said he’s hopeful, too.
Things are happening in Alaska
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- Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is scheduled to announce at 2 p.m. Monday whether he’s signed or vetoed permanent fund dividends and reversals of his earlier budget vetoes. The announcement will be delivered in a video address, which you can watch here when it becomes publicly available.
- Gov. Dunleavy has reversed himself and declared support for subsidized broadband internet for rural libraries and a free service allowing online tutors for students. The governor had previously vetoed the $809,100 in funding.
- A 19-mile stretch of the Parks Highway was closed some 80 miles north of Anchorage, as authorities called for the evacuation of a subdivision that only has one road in and out.
- Master Gardener Ed Buyarski describes how humans can intervene and help out with the pollination process.