Legislature(2003 - 2004)

2004-06-22 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2004-06-22                     House Journal                      Page 4460
HB 1005                                                                                           
HOUSE BILL NO. 1005 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                      
the Governor, entitled:                                                                             
     "An Act providing for and relating to the issuance of general                                  
     obligation bonds for the purpose of paying the cost of state surface                           
     transportation projects; and providing for an effective date."                                 
was read the first time and referred to the Finance Committee.                                      
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                 
1.  Fiscal, Dept. of Revenue                                                                        
The Governor's transmittal letter dated June 21, 2004, follows:                                     
"Dear Speaker Kott:                                                                                 
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am                          
transmitting a bill authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds                            
to finance surface transportation capital improvement projects.                                     
The projects included in this bill address a variety of important surface                           
transportation needs across the state, ranging from congestion relief in                            
Anchorage and Fairbanks, to safety improvements, betterment of                                      
driving conditions, and access to critical resource and industrial                                  
projects.  Some of these upgrades are being included to facilitate                                  
transfer to local ownership.                                                                        
Investment in transportation pays both short- and long-term dividends                               
to the state's economy.  Immediately, it would put Alaskans to work in                              
the design and construction of these surface transportation projects.                               
Long-term, it ensures that workers and commodities can move                                         
efficiently, and enables new economic activity to occur that in turn                                
creates new family-wage jobs.   As such, I consider this bond package                               
a stimulus to the state's economy, and part of the budget solution.                                 
One key advantage of this bill is that it provides an additional level of                           
transportation financing during a period of reduced federal funding for                             
highways.  Since statehood, the flow of federal dollars has typically                               

2004-06-22                     House Journal                      Page 4461
grown each year, but since 2002 this trend has changed and we now                                   
face two consecutive years of decline in federal funding levels.                                    
Supplementing the state's capital program with general obligation                                   
bond money would ensure that the state's infrastructure would keep                                  
pace with growth in traffic and other uses.                                                         
I view this bond package as an important plank in the state's long-                                 
range financial plan.  Ensuring that we have a sufficient and effective                             
surface transportation system is an important duty of the legislative                               
and executive branches.  The bill also requires that the money in the                               
bond package only be available once a constitutional amendment                                      
establishing the percent of market value approach to determining                                    
amounts available for appropriation from the Alaska Permanent Fund,                                 
and the bonds, have been approved by the voters.                                                    
I welcome your support for this important measure.                                                  
                                 Sincerely yours,                                                   
                                 Frank H. Murkowski