Legislature(2021 - 2022)

2022-04-04 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2022-04-04                     House Journal                      Page 2278
HB 414                                                                                                                        
HOUSE BILL NO. 414 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                                                   
the Governor, entitled:                                                                                                         
     "An Act making appropriations for the operating expenses of state                                                          
     government and certain programs; making capital appropriations                                                             
     and supplemental appropriations; capitalizing funds; and                                                                   
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
was read the first time and referred to the Finance Committee.                                                                  

2022-04-04                     House Journal                      Page 2279
The Governor's transmittal letter dated April 4 follows:                                                                        
"Dear Speaker Stutes:                                                                                                           
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18 of the Alaska                                                                    
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to appropriations for                                                           
capital and operating needs for fiscal year 2023, and supplemental                                                              
appropriations for fiscal year 2022, related to federal funding coming                                                          
to the State from the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA).                                                           
The federal investments made in IIJA will begin flowing to the State                                                            
in 2022 and will continue over the next five years. It is estimated that                                                        
60 percent of the funding contained in the IIJA will be allocated to                                                            
federal agencies and non-federal partners by formula, the remaining 40                                                          
percent is expected to be competitively awarded.                                                                                
This appropriation bill allows state agencies to access $868 million in                                                         
federal funds and includes appropriations of $79.5 million in state                                                             
IIJA created new funding opportunities for infrastructure critical to                                                           
Alaska, as well as enhancing existing federal programs for five federal                                                         
fiscal years. The required match is $58.8 million of state funds for                                                            
these new and reformed programs that total $560.2 million in new                                                                
federal funds for Alaska's surface transportation program, the                                                                  
Department of Environmental Conservation's Water and Wastewater                                                                 
Programs, and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs'                                                                  
program for state and local cybersecurity grants.                                                                               
The remaining $21.5 million of state funds augment federal                                                                      
investments in key areas important to the State, and funds                                                                      
infrastructure coordination and planning to ensure the State of Alaska                                                          
is well positioned to maximize the programs and opportunities                                                                   
contained in the bill. Many of those opportunities are targeted to non-                                                         
state entities including local governments, tribes, non-profits,                                                                
education institutions, utilities and even commercial industry partners.                                                        
This bill contains $3 million in state support to the Alaska Federation                                                         
of Natives (AFN) and the Alaska Municipal League (AML) to assist                                                                
non-state entities with IIJA assistance and coordination.                                                                       
Our State has a unique opportunity to lead the nation for developing                                                            
clean hydrogen and developing carbon capture technology                                                                         
infrastructure, which have the potential to create new multi-billion                                                            

2022-04-04                     House Journal                      Page 2280
dollar economies within Alaska. The development of critical minerals                                                            
through the University of Alaska and mapping through the Department                                                             
of Natural Resources is a pivotal tool for the United States to source                                                          
its renewable components in Alaska and not totalitarian regimes.                                                                
Alaska is the greatest outlier in the country when it comes to electric                                                         
grid modernization and expansion, and stands to gain from connecting                                                            
homes, villages, towns, and cities through cutting edge infrastructure                                                          
methods. Each of these objectives can access billions of dollars in                                                             
federal funds, creating new private-sector jobs across the state while                                                          
lowering the cost of energy and ensuring more reliability and stability.                                                        
This bill accesses $37 million in federal weatherization grants to be                                                           
administered by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.                                                                         
Additionally, the Department of Health and Social Services would                                                                
receive $314 thousand in funds for the Alaska Low Income Home                                                                   
Energy Assistance Program. The Alaska Department of Fish and                                                                    
Game would also, through this bill, leverage $6 million in designated                                                           
general funds for $18 million federal wildlife and sport fish restoration                                                       
The collaboration with AFN through its navigator program in 2021                                                                
was a successful joint effort with the State of Alaska to access                                                                
Coronavirus response funding for tribes, village corporations, and                                                              
other Alaska Native groups. To expand upon that, this bill requests                                                             
$2.5 million in state general funds to AFN to enhance the scope of its                                                          
navigator program and facilitate information exchanges with Alaska                                                              
Native organizations on federal infrastructure dollars.                                                                         
Finally, this bill requests $5 million in state general funds to stand up a                                                     
State of Alaska Infrastructure Office. Because IIJA will be valid for                                                           
five federal fiscal years, and much of the federal funding will be                                                              
directed outside the State's appropriation process, the ability to                                                              
coordinate with all recipients within Alaska will be critical to ensuring                                                       
success without duplication of effort.                                                                                          
I look forward to working with the Legislature on the timely passage                                                            
and implementation of these appropriations.                                                                                     
Mike Dunleavy