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Legislature sends $47 million in community funding to Arctic Alaska

Arctic Sounder staff
Education, healthy and safety priorities -- along with regional funding equity -- were the guideposts for lawmakers during the recent session's budget balancing. Courtesy IHC

More than $47.1 million of Alaska's capital budget is slated for Arctic projects in Fiscal Year 2014. That comes out of the $2.2 billion budget that Alaska's legislators passed unanimously in April.

Those funds break down into $1.3 billion in state dollars, and $928 million from the federal government, according to an Alaska House Majority release.

This budget reportedly represents $1 billion savings over the FY2013 plan.

The House Majority cited life, health and safety priorities along with regional funding equity, as their guide when trying to balance this budget.

"We wanted to make sure we were pro-active in terms of keeping up with our end of the bargain on education," said House Finance Committee Co-Chair Bill Stoltze in the release. "This is highlighted through an investment of $21 million, supported by every member of the Finance Committee, to enhance student safety and security."

Education efforts top the statewide highlights, including $57 million going toward rural school renovation. Another $30 million is earmarked for University of Alaska construction projects. Then there's the $21 million for school security and technology enhancements.

In the Arctic particularly, Kiana's airport project is the big-ticket item, with $15 million slated for airport improvements including a snow removal equipment building.

Another large chunk is headed for the Ambler Mining District, for studies surrounding an access project through the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority.

The project will help determine options for a highway between the Dalton Highway and the Ambler mining district, according to the appropriation statement.

"The ultimate goal is to define a preferred build alternative, secure environmental permits and right-of way that can be transferred to a public-private partnership for final design, finance and construction," the statement says.

The project is part of a larger effort between public and private entities to develop natural resources in Alaska.

Other large projects include $4 million for a chemical storage building in Barrow, $2.5 million for an evacuation road in Kivalina and $4 million for dorms in Kotzebue.

Two dozen other projects in a range from $100,000 to $2 million.

  • Ambler - $700,000 - Sewage Lagoon Road
  • Anaktuvuk Pass - $257,703 - General Operations
  • Atqasuk - 489,233 - NPRA project
  • Barrow - 286,501 - Search and Rescue Building Renovation
  • Barrow - $1.3 million - Ahkovak Street Upgrade
  • Barrow - $906,142 - Public Facilities Operating and Maintenance
  • Ilisagvik College - $85,000 - Workforce Development Program Equipment
  • Kiana - $100,000 - Fuel Dispenser Upgrade
  • Kobuk - $350,000 - Heavy Equipment
  • Kotzebue - $100,000 - Armory Deferred Maintenance
  • Maniilaq - $100,000 - Mammography and Ultrasound Equipment
  • Noatak - $985,805 - Heat Recovery Water Treatment Plant
  • Noorvik - $200,000 - Dumpster and Fencing
  • North Slope Borough - $1.7 million - Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • North Slope Borough School District - $1.58 million - CAM Initiative
  • North Slope Borough - $400,000 - Comprehensive Land Use Plan
  • North Slope Borough - $300,751 - Mayor's Job Program
  • North Slope Borough - $299,920 - Workforce Development Program
  • Nuiqsut - $375,000 - Local Government Operating and Maintenance
  • Nuiqsut - $200,000 - Youth Center
  • Selawik - $340,000 - Road, Landfill, Maintenance and Material
  • Selawik - $1.1 million - E&W Fork Footbridge Rehabilitation
  • Shungnak - $350,000 - Heavy Equipment
  • Wainwright - $325,000 - Local Government Operations
  • Wainwright - $323,119 - Youth Program