Leverage federal funds

Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2002

Sen. Murkowski has put forth his vision of building a modern transportation system in Alaska. The senator's transportation plan would allow Alaska's economy to grow and would connect this state to the rest of the nation. It is a vision that citizens ought to be able to drive to Juneau, and a vision that will increase commerce, trade and tourism. Fran Ulmer, however, is critical of the senator's well-reasoned transportation proposals because she does not know how Alaska will pay for the transportation improvements we need.

The answer to Ms. Ulmer's question is provided by Gov. Knowles. Gov. Knowles in 1998 told Commonwealth North that Alaska had the opportunity to initiate the largest construction project since the pipeline by building much needed roads without spending very much: "To get $2 billion for Alaska's highways, we need to put up only $50 million a year." As Fran Ulmer told the AFL-CIO Annual Legislative Conference in March of 2000: "Federal transportation funds generally require a 90/10 match."

The math is simple. Alaska can pay for Sen. Murkowski's vision of a modern transportation system by making maximum use of federal funds, which will pay for most of the costs, and by raising state matching funds through bonds and by making roads and ports a budget priority. These construction projects and the resulting roads and infrastructure will, in turn, act to expand the economy, and increase state revenues significantly.

Mark Davis

Murkowski/Leman Campaign volunteer


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