The Senate unanimously passed a $2.6 billion capital projects budget Wednesday – a bill that Finance Co-Chairman Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) says is another step toward keeping Alaska’s economy going well.
“Some would see a sizeable appropriation bill, some would see as not big enough. Mr. President, I think it’s just about right. It’s similar to where we were a year ago in overall appropriations. It’s the balance the state of Alaska as a whole can absorb very well. We could keep our road construction projects, our building projects and our planning all kind of rolling along so we don’t have dips in our economy,” Stedman said.
He said the Senate version adds $721 million to the budget the governor introduced, and still leaves room for House members to add their own priorities. The Senate received and made decisions on 1,800 project requests from communities across the state – which would have represented $3.8 billion in more spending.
“The concentration on the capital budget was to grow our economy and to help it diversify and lower the cost of living for Alaskans. And in doing so we concentrated on energy and other enhancements to further that endeavor and also to create jobs,” Stedman said.
The bill passed on a 20-0 vote and has already been sent to the House. Work is already underway on their version of the bill.