Alaskans Voice Strong Support for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act


11.15.21

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today attended a White House signing ceremony during which President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law. The measure provides historic investments into roads, bridges, ports, airports, broadband, ferries, water and wastewater, resilience, and energy projects—modernizing and upgrading the nation’s core infrastructure. As a lead author and negotiator of this bipartisan infrastructure package, Murkowski secured a range of provisions that are critical to improving, maintaining, and upgrading Alaska’s infrastructure.

The bipartisan legislation will create jobs and long-term economic growth by providing an additional $550 billion towards infrastructure priorities over the next five years, all without raising taxes on the American people.

Click here for Alaska bill highlights.

 

What They’re Saying About the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act

“Alaska’s cities and boroughs applaud the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will enable local governments to address a backlog of infrastructure and major maintenance needs. This infusion of federal investment will strengthen communities, assist with economic recovery, and result in a more resilient Alaska. AML thanks Sen. Murkowski for her leadership in moving this Act forward, responding directly to infrastructure needs in Alaska, and across America.”

-Nils Andreassen, Executive Director of the Alaska Municipal League

“For decades, Alaska has been in desperate need of meaningful infrastructure investment. The Alaska Chamber applauds our entire congressional delegation for voting yes on the historic bipartisan infrastructure bill. The more than $5 billion of investment that will flow into Alaska will positively impact hundreds of thousands of Alaskans, create good-paying jobs, and catapult economic growth crucial to building Alaska’s future. Alaskans rely on roads, ports, ferries, bridges, airports, railways, and broadband to keep our communities connected. We thank Senator Murkowski for her leadership in crafting a truly bipartisan bill and ensuring Alaska’s unique infrastructure needs were not forgotten throughout the process.”

-Kati Capozzi, President & CEO of Alaska Chamber

“The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District (KPEDD) applauds the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and thanks Senator Murkowski for her work to secure provisions that will be critical to improving infrastructure on the Kenai Peninsula—helping create new jobs and stimulating our local economy. The KPEDD is committed to enhancing the quality of life for Borough residents, and this infrastructure bill will provide for significant regional economic development of our communities. We are particularly interested in the possibility of additional support for local projects such as the Kenai Bluff Erosion project and the Homer Port Expansion project. I thank the Senator for prioritizing our state and communities as she wrote the infrastructure bill.”

Tim Dillon, Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District Executive Director

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is an example of how Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski has consistently championed efforts to help Alaska’s travel and tourism industry recover in the wake of the pandemic,” “The infrastructure legislation includes investments in travel and tourism related projects in both urban and rural communities, which can enhance recreation, tourism and economic opportunities throughout our great state.”

-Sarah Leonard, President & CEO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association, the leading statewide association for travel and tourism businesses in Alaska

“What an amazing and historic funding opportunity for southeast and the State of Alaska! This legacy legislation hits the “fast-forward” button for investments in much needed critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, ports, energy, water systems, and broadband. But the investment in the Alaska Marine Highway System is a game changer at a time of crisis for the ferry system. There is funding now for sustainable basic operations to distressed rural communities, money for new ferries and terminals and an exciting opportunity to modernize the fleet through electrification, fueled by local renewable energy. It is now on all of us in Alaska to take full advantage of this unique, once in a lifetime opportunity.”

-Robert Venables, Executive Director of Southeast Conference

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a landmark commitment to improving our nation’s infrastructure, creating jobs and economic growth in Alaska and across the country. The ANCSA Regional Association appreciates Senator Murkowski’s support of Alaska Native people in her negotiations around the legislation. As a result of this commitment, the final bill includes provisions that will benefit Alaska Native people and our communities in a myriad of ways – from water infrastructure, to broadband, to IHS sanitation improvements. We thank Senator Murkowski for her efforts and for her tireless championing of Alaska Native people.”

-Kim Reitmeier, Executive Director of the ANCSA Regional Association

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides an unprecedented investment in water and wastewater infrastructure for rural Alaska communities. This Act will allow every community in Alaska to have adequate access to water, which is necessary for healthy residents. This legislation also provides a significant investment in climate resilience to protect and strengthen rural Alaska communities, which are among those most impacted by climate change. Quyana cakneq (thank you very much) to Senator Murkowski for her extraordinary efforts in attaining this historic investment for Alaska Native communities in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson, President of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

“Tribal communities in rural Alaska are facing multiple disasters, compounded by the severe lack of water/sewer, technology, and transportation infrastructure. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will give our tribes resources to expand or improve water and sanitation systems; invest in broadband; and work to connect our roadless region. Thank you Senator Murkowski, for advocating on behalf of Alaska’s tribal communities.”

-Vivian Korthuis, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Village Council Presidents

“The Alaska LNG federal loan guarantees in this important legislation reflect the central role that Alaska’s natural gas has in building a cleaner global energy future and strengthening our domestic economy. This provision keeps Alaska at the forefront of responsible U.S. energy development, and I’d like to thank Sen. Murkowski for her leadership.”

-Frank Richards, President of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation

“The Alaska AFL-CIO would like to thank Senator Murkowski for her leadership on this important bill. Infrastructure investment is good for everybody; workers, employers, small business and our children. We need to maintain what we have built and improve our communities to serve the needs of the future. This bill will bring critical and needed projects home to Alaska and put a generation of Alaskans to work in good jobs that support a family. Lisa has once again shown how to get things done in DC.”

-Joelle Hall, President of the Alaska AFL-CIO

“The passing today of the historic bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act delivers the much needed and long overdue core infrastructure upgrades across the country and in Alaska with the largest ever federal investment in roads and bridges, ferries, high speed internet, water systems, airports, and energy infrastructure which will also provide millions of good paying jobs and careers for decades to come. The significant economic benefits that will be generated by this bill cannot be overstated, and it comes at a crucial time in Alaska’s history. I applaud Senator Murkowski’s work across the aisle to help deliver this important federal funding that will modernize America’s aging infrastructure and give Alaska the economic boost needed to help sustain and improve our communities in both rural and urban areas of the state with infrastructure and jobs.”

-Marcie Obremski, Business Manager at IBEW Local 1547

“As a relatively young state with over 365 million acres, Alaska lacks important infrastructure across an area more than twice the size of the state of Texas. In contrast to the Lower 48, Alaska is mostly roadless. Alaska’s transportation and utility network is largely underdeveloped, from water lines to broadband, from docks to airports, expansion of Alaska’s infrastructure is necessary and prudent. Rural Alaska communities, as well as resource development, will benefit from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Resource development is a cornerstone of the Alaska economy and is dependent upon reasonable access to tie into the existing transportation infrastructure. We are very appreciative of the delegation’s support for this important legislation.”

-Marleanna Hall, Former Executive Director of the Resource Development Council for Alaska

“Alaskans have long been leaders in using broadband for education, health care, commerce, and much more. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will transform broadband infrastructure in Alaska and help us be even more creative and ground-breaking in our use of connectivity. We are excited about the opportunity to bring advanced broadband services to all Alaskans and eager to accelerate our work with the support this bill is bringing. Thank you Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan, and Congressman Young for your long-standing commitment to broadband services for Alaskans, and your leadership in advancing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

-Christine O’Connor, Executive Director of the Alaska Telecom Association 

“It is often said that if Alaska’s impressive mineral deposits were in the state of Nevada, with infrastructure like roads, ports, and energy grids, they would already be mines. We’re pleased that the infrastructure package includes significant investment in building Alaska, which will make investment in resource development more attractive. It will also help to improve permitting of our industrial projects, an issue our nation has struggled with for many years. In addition to incentivizing economic development, the bill brings massive needed improvements to Alaska’s communities. We thank our Congressional Delegation for ensuring Alaskans benefit from the bill.”

Deantha Skibinski, Executive Director of the Alaska Miners Association

“We greatly appreciate the work and vision put into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and Congressman Don Young. The increase in formula funding for railroad capital expenditures is important for all railroads, but especially for the Alaska Railroad, which will in turn benefit all Alaskans in a state that is woefully lacking in infrastructure. Additionally, the funding to remove at-grade crossings helps address the number one safety issue for the railroad industry, will save countless lives, and is a great opportunity for the Alaska Railroad to increase safety and efficiency. Simply put—this is a big deal for the Alaska Railroad, the State of Alaska, and the nation as a whole.”

-Bill O’Leary, President &CEO of the Alaska Railroad

“The increased funding opportunities exclusively targeted for port infrastructure has been long-awaited by the industry. While we have similar needs in general as our industry colleagues, the payback to Alaskans that increased federal funding opportunities will provide has further reaching benefits than would be experienced by larger US ports, because of the direct positive impact on food security and resiliency these greater grant opportunities will give us. We are grateful to Senator Murkowski for recognizing that and for supporting us.”

-Steve Ribuffo, Director of the Port of Alaska

“Homer Electric Association (HEA) praises the adoption of the bipartisan infrastructure bill as a successful step towards addressing issues that impact rural utilities. The infrastructure bill addresses several HEA priorities such as prioritizing clean energy, energy diversification, grid modernization including matching funds, opportunities for the expansion of cyber security, grid resilience, electric vehicles and EV charging infrastructure. We commend the compromise that made this bipartisan solution possible and continue to advocate additional prospects for energy diversification and storage technologies. We commend Senator Murkowski and the Alaska delegation for taking this first step to enable cooperatives like HEA to continue its important work.”

-Brad Janorschke, General Manager of Homer Electric Association

“Senator Murkowski’s leadership to repeal a tax on infrastructure expansion, including government grants, will encourage water and wastewater utilities to invest in Alaska and around the country to the benefit of new customers and new communities. These investments are critical to providing safe, reliable drinking water and wastewater services to customers at an affordable price. Senator Murkowski’s efforts are particularly impactful to Fairbanks Sewer and Water. In addition, the Senator’s efforts will potentially save our customers from funding millions of dollars in tax payments for grants to clean up PFAS.”

-Oran Paul, President of Fairbanks Sewer and Water

“Our lands and waters are part of Alaska’s infrastructure, and the bipartisan infrastructure bill reflects that through smart investments in nature that are critical for our way of life and our future. This includes efforts to ensure the clean water, resilient communities, healthy forests, wildlife habitats, and clean air we all need. It also makes game-changing investments in clean energy and job creation that will help us address climate change. We are grateful to Sen. Murkowski for leading this effort to craft a bill that supports our critical infrastructure, and for recognizing the important role of nature and clean energy as solutions to many of the challenges we face in Alaska.”

-Steve Cohn, State Director of The Nature Conservancy in Alaska

“The University of Alaska applauds the work of the Alaska Congressional Delegation for its efforts in passing this historic piece of legislation.” said Pat Pitney, Interim President of the University of Alaska. “This investment goes beyond supporting ‘traditional infrastructure,’ as it pertains to critical areas like broadband funding, university-based research that focuses on the development of rare earths, critical minerals, and transportation innovations. The University of Alaska is a leader in many of these areas, and we look forward to working with our delegation to secure funding that will benefit all of Alaska.”

-Pat Pitney, University of Alaska President

“The Alaska Air Carriers Association supports the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that will provide new funding for airport and aviation infrastructure.  In 1995, the NTSB concluded that development of Alaska’s aviation infrastructure was requisite to reducing the accident rate.  Yet today, roughly 100 communities, numerous tour routes and mountain passes lack basic aviation weather reporting, adequate communication infrastructure and other infrastructure for safe aviation operations.  This act presents a long overdue opportunity for FAA to program funding for aviation weather, aviation RCO, RCAG, and other communication systems,  instrument flight procedures at airports, resolve runway condition issues, expand ADSB and NEXRAD radar weather, involve Alaska in GPS resiliency programs and improve air transportation to all Alaskan communities.”

Jane Dale, Director of Alaska Air Carriers Association

“Every Alaskan will feel the positive effects of the infrastructure bill championed by Senator Lisa Murkowski. The systems that underpin our economy and keep our communities connected – state-owned airports, the Alaska Railroad, paved roads and bridges, ports, and drinking water systems—all receive significant investments as a result of this landmark legislation.

In Kodiak, Cordova, and across Coastal Alaska, the boost in federal funding for the Alaska Marine Highway System means we will have the resources to build our ferries up for the next generation. Allowing federal highway aid for ferry operations and repairs is a transformative change, and the line item that provides five years of grants for rural ferries should help ensure quality service and reliable scheduling for communities that rely on the Blue Canoe.”

-House Speaker Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak)

“Alaska’s capital infrastructure budget has been seriously hampered the past few years. I want to thank Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan and Congressman Young for their support of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which is an historic appropriation for broadband, roads, bridges and clean drinking water. These are investments that will benefit all Alaskans, both rural and urban, for generations to come.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature to secure the necessary matching funds for these infrastructure investments which will create prevailing wage jobs for Alaskan workers.” 

-Senator Click Bishop, Alaska State Senate Finance Committee Co-Chair

“The City of Ketchikan strongly supports Senator Murkowski’s work on the infrastructure and jobs act. Our community has been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through the near totally shutdown of one of our primary economic engines, the cruise passenger industry. The funding in the infrastructure act is a crucial lifeline as we struggle to rebound from increased unemployment and lost revenues at a time when our community is also facing significant infrastructure needs. As a community that is dependent in many ways on the Alaska Marine Highway System, the money that will go to stabilize its services is also an important part of the act. Ketchikan would have trouble surviving without the AMHS.”

-Dave Kiffer, Mayor of the City of Ketchikan

“Access to public infrastructure supports a thriving private sector. Funding for improvements like harbors, roads, and ferries, and more recently broadband communications, encourages private sector investment in our Southeast Alaska economy.  I look forward to working with Federal agencies to build out infrastructure locally.”

Tim O’Connor, Mayor of City of Craig

“This Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act delivers solutions to Alaska. The 2021 Alaska Infrastructure Report Card by the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Alaska a C- (between “poor” and “mediocre”). The IIJA will provide resources needed for roads, bridges and airports, as well as broadband and renewable resource infrastructure. These major investments will stimulate the production of another vital Alaska resource—Alaska-grown engineers and workforce! Huge thanks to our Congressional team of Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and Congressman Young.”

-Cathy Giessel, former Alaska State Senate President 2019-2020, and former Chair of the Alaska Senate Resources Committee, 2013-2018

“The City of Ketchikan supports Senator Murkowski’s work to advance the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The City of Ketchikan has been greatly and disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the community struggles to rebound from increased unemployment, nearly two seasons without our primary economic driver of cruise passenger tourism, and lost revenues, core infrastructure continues to need attention with few local funding options available. This infrastructure bill will provide the infusion of capital to tackle languishing infrastructure projects, including stabilizing the critical Alaska Marine Highway System, while providing employment opportunities for our community that will greatly aid in getting Ketchikan, and Alaska, back on its feet.”

-Robert Sivertsen, former Mayor of the City of Ketchikan

 





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