The new fiscal year 2022 state budget unveiled by Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) on December 11 contains several key transportation proposals, according to an analysis released by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
[Above photo by Alaska DOT&PF.]
“The Governor’s budget exercises restraint, yet still supports those core state services and initiatives to Keep Alaska Moving,” noted John MacKinnon, Alaska DOT&PF’s commissioner, in a statement.
The transportation highlights of Gov. Dunleavy’s budget include:
- One-time Unrestricted General Fund (UGF) reduction via the use of Federal Aviation Administration CARES Act funds. The Alaska DOT&PF is proposing to use $14.6 million of eligible funds issued via the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Actpassed by Congress in March in place of UGF in light of the current statewide fiscal environment. The department said it would use that federal aid to cover “eligible expenses” to allow for this one-time UGF reduction.
- A $50 million operating budget proposal for the Alaska Marine Highway System via a UGF payment. The AMHS proposed operating budget equals the same amount proposed by the Governor in FY 2021 as the Alaska DOT&PF continues implementation service changes recommended by the Alaska Marine Highway Reshaping Working Group, established in January.
- Consolidation of the Department of Administration (DOA) leasing functions with the Division of Facility Services (DFS). To date, the Alaska DOT&PF said DFS has “on boarded” management of more than 75 percent of state facilities. Progress will continue in FY 2022 with the goal of completely centralizing the bulk of state facility services, absorbing leasing, and space management functions, as well as public building fund management from DOA. The aim is to find maximum efficiency and cost effectiveness while bringing the specialized talent for this task into one state agency.
- Adding state funds to the Surface Transportation Program (STP) and Airport Improvement Program (AIP) capital budget. Gov. Dunleavy’s budget proposed a more than $10 million increase in state matching funds to leverage additional federal dollars for the STP and AIP capital programs. That extra money translates into additional projects that, in turn, provides additional jobs to urban and rural Alaska, the Alaska DOT&PF said.
- Statewide Equipment Fleet (SEF) modernization. The governor’s budget proposes additional capital authority for SEF modernization, which will result in reduced operating costs, the agency said. Alaska DOT&PF is also awaiting the completion of a fleet analysis study by Mercury Associates that should “provide direction on improved management and long-term planning” for the agency’s equipment fleet when procuring, maintaining, and disposing of maintenance & operations assets.