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House passes historic infrastructure bill

Murkowski applauds Young’s vote
Alaska Railroad,  (KTUU)
Alaska Railroad, (KTUU)(KTUU)
Published: Nov. 6, 2021 at 3:59 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1 trillion infrastructure package late on Friday night by a 228-206 vote. The bill had passed the U.S. Senate 69-30 in August.

“This bipartisan infrastructure bill is one of the most consequential legislative efforts I have worked on in my Senate career. I am incredibly proud and humbled to have played a leading role in the creation of this legislation. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act recognizes that Alaska is decades behind in having the basic infrastructure which many states in the Lower 48 take for granted. It addresses that gap by sending billions of dollars back home to put Alaskans to work building roads and wastewater systems, fixing bridges, and pioneering innovative transportation and energy technologies, all of which will benefit generations to come,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski.

The bill now heads to the desk of President Joe Biden and includes funding for roads, bridges, rail transportation, ports, broadband internet including connection for parts of rural Alaska, water and wastewater funding, and power grid solutions. The bipartisan plan was compared to the transcontinental railroad and interstate highway system by Biden. The White House projects that 2 million jobs will be created by the measure over the coming decade.

“Generations from now, people will look back and know this is when America won the economic competition for the 21st Century,” Biden said Saturday.

There were 13 Republican members of the House who voted in favor of the infrastructure bill on Friday, including Alaska’s lone Congressman and Dean of the House Don Young.

“I want to thank the many Alaskans who worked with me in writing provisions that address the needs of both our urban and rural communities. And a big thank you to my friend and colleague Congressman Don Young, for using his influence and platform in the House to garner support to get this across the finish line. As this historic legislation now heads to the President for his signature, I look forward to working with our federal partners to make these visions on paper become a reality,” Murkowski said.

Conversely, six Democrat members of Congress voted in opposition to the bill. The bill includes funding for upgrades to over 140 Alaskan bridges, funding for broadband internet through the Tribal Connectivity Grant Program, and to improve drinking water systems through the Alaska Native Village Grant Program. According to historical formula funding, Alaska can expect to receive at least $100 million for internet and $19 million for protection against wildfires.

Murkowski wrote in a press release Friday that she and 10 members of the Senate worked for months on the bill that she claims “will deliver tremendous benefits to Alaska that pay forward for decades to come.”

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