Murkowski Efforts Promote Alaska Ports, Harbors and Roads

Senator’s Committee Work Boosts State’s “Circulatory System”

Senator Lisa Murkowski today succeeded in leveraging her position on the Energy and Waters Appropriations Subcommittee to deliver resources in the 2016 funding bill that will initiate or maintain infrastructure projects in Alaska.   The appropriations bill, which passed the full Senate Appropriations Committee today, will fund studies, research, port projects and energy innovations that will boost Alaska’s economy.

“Infrastructure is the circulatory system of our state, and it sustains our commerce, our culture and simply connects Alaskans to one another – and it must be a priority for our state because we are still lacking the roads, harbors and connections that states in the Lower 48 take for granted,” said Murkowski. “I thank my colleagues for working with me to continue to bring needed investments to our state, but also for pursuing innovative ideas with me for our state’s energy projects.”

Corps of Engineers Operations and Maintenance Funding:  When the appropriations bill is constructed, funding amounts are debated to get the best return on investment for worthwhile projects.  The 2016 bill includes:

  • $7,928,000 for Port Lions Harbor
  • $11,904,000  for Port of Anchorage maintenance and dredging projects
  • $3,615,000 for Chena River Lakes
  • $1,231,000 for Dillingham Harbor
  • $462,000 for Homer Harbor
  • $180,000 for inspection of completed work in Alaska
    • This will likely be used for the Nome Sea Wall, Dillingham Sheet Pile, Homer Spit Rock Revetment, Skagway River Levee and other projects
  • $345,000 for Ninilchik Harbor
  • $1,550,000 for Nome Harbor
  • $4,000,000 for St. Paul Harbor
  • $700,000 for project condition surveys in Alaska
    • This likely includes Akutan, Bethel, Kake, Dry Pass Channel and Mekoryuk

Corps of Engineers General Investigations Funding:  Before a shovel hits the dirt or a backhoe gets delivered, the Corps of Engineers reviews proposals for projects to make sure the most cost-effective methods are used.  The 2015 funding bill includes:

  • $535,000 for Craig Harbor
  • $700,000 for Kotzebue Small Boat Harbor
  • $700,000 for Perryville Harbor
  • $700,000 for St. George Harbor

Denali Commission:  The Denali Commission coordinates construction and infrastructure efforts in rural Alaska.  Senator Murkowski was able to provide $1 million above the President’s budget to continue this important program – allocating $11 million for its operations this year.

Stability and Certainty for Seward tunnel: With Seward rainfall resulting in chronic floods of the Lowell Creek Tunnel, Murkowski was able to secure $2,286,000 for Lowell Creek Tunnel improvements.  She also successfully locked in the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct operations and maintenance for the next five years.

Methane Hydrates: Nearly $20 million to further research into the production of natural gas from methane hydrates.  Alaska’s Arctic contains an estimated 32,600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas locked in ice crystals – enough energy to power the entire nation for 1,000 years.

Risk Based Data Management System: $5.2 million within the Department of Energy’s Fossil Energy Research and Development budget, which will help Alaska better monitor the integrity of wells drilled by the oil and gas industry and improve transparency by publishing information about hydraulic fracturing on the website FracFocus.

Weatherization Assistance Program: $190 million for weatherization assistance nationally. The program helps improve energy efficiency in rural Alaska where high energy prices take a larger percentage of household budgets.  Better insulation, sealing windows and other energy efficiency tactics statewide are frequently used to keep Alaskans warm and lower energy bills.