State’s share of fed highway funding steady

JUNEAU — Major transportation projects are being put on hold, or remain in limbo, as the state of Alaska deals with the fallout of declining oil prices and the changing priorities of a new administration.

But other projects, such as the recent $25 million Brotherhood Bridge replacement project in Juneau, continue to be paid for by a federal government fund that has been very friendly to Alaska over the years.

Figures compiled by The Associated Press show the total amount of money available to states from the Federal Highway Trust Fund has declined 3.5 percent during the five-year period ending in 2013, the latest year for which numbers were available. During that span, the amount of inflation-adjusted federal highway money dropped in all states but Alaska and New York.

Federal funding for Alaska’s highways and other projects has held steady in recent years.

For fiscal year 2013, Alaska received about $545 million from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, on par with the inflation-adjusted $542 million the state received in 2008. Overall, the state also saw about a 25 percent increase in total state and federal highway spending, once adjusted for inflation.

When all state and federal funding sources are tallied, including earmarks, the total transportation spending for Alaska in 2013 was about $990 million.

Over the years, members of Alaska’s congressional delegation have pushed to secure federal funding for transportation projects in Alaska, arguing the federal government should help pay for roads and bridges in this young state.

For now, the state’s budget situation won’t put securing federal funds at risk, although that could change.

Federally funded transportation projects generally require a match, anywhere in the range from 6 to 20 percent depending on the project, said state Department of Transportation spokesman Jeremy Woodrow.

New Gov. Bill Walker has put several big-ticket transportation projects on hold, including building a new road for the Ambler mining district.

Walker’s proposed capital budget for next year includes about $63 million to serve as a match for federal funds, Woodrow said.

Each year, the budget typically contains a lump sum for matches, and the department can apply it to whichever projects need it.

“If the state match were constrained, then a decision would have to be made by the Governor and/or Legislature as to which projects are priority,” Woodrow wrote in an email. That hasn’t happened yet.

Woodrow said the state typically budgets for covering an extra 30 percent of funding, to be on the safe side.

More in News

Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. The veteran Alaska legislator was passing through Homer while waiting to take the M/V Tustumena ferry to Kodiak. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Clem Tillion, PFD founder and former legislator, dies at 96

Tillion died Wedneday, Oct. 13, at Halibut Cove home.

Thunder Mountain High School on April 18.  Earlier this fall, vandalism including stolen soap dispensers and toilets clogged with foreign objects such as paper towel rolls were a problem at schools nationwide and in Juneau. But, principals say the local situation is improving. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
After brief surge, vandalism subsiding at local high schools

Principals say internet trends, stress likely behind incidents.

In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, heads to a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. An Alaska man faces federal charges after authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill Murkowski, according to court documents unsealed Wed., Oct. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite,File)
Delta Junction man faces charges over threatening Murkowski’s life

Authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill the senator.

Donna Aderhold recites the Homer City Council oath of office and is sworn in for duty at the city council meeting on Oct. 11. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
New council members sworn into duty Monday

Newly-elected Homer City Council members Shelly Erickson and Jason Davis and re-elected… Continue reading

Runners participate in boys varsity race at the Ted McKenney XC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The trails recently reported incidents of vandalism and theft. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Vandalism and theft reported at Tsalteshi Trails

One trail user reported stolen skis recently and multiple signs have been defaced.

At left Bonita Banks, RN, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) nurse at Homer Medical Center, and at right, Annie Garay, RN, Community Health Educator, pose for a photo at South Peninsula Hospital on Sept. 27, 2021, at Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
New hospital community health educator starts

Garay, a Homer raised nurse, came home to ride out COVID-19, wound up doing pandemic nursing.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Montessori school goes to universal indoor masking

As of Tuesday, eight KPBSD schools were operating with universal indoor masking for staff and students.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Crabbers look at cuts to quotas

Tanner, opilio crab quotas cut on top of cancellation of fall king crab fishery.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Judge sides with psychiatrists who alleged wrongful firing

Two psychiatrists said they were wrongfully fired when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy took office.

Most Read