Congressional delegation eyes federal funds at risk in state budget impasse

Photo of U.S. Capitol by Liz Ruskin

A pile of federal dollars on the line as legislators negotiate the state’s capital budget and whether to restore some of the roughly $400 million Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed.

“I am certainly one who has been encouraging everyone to come together. This is pretty high stakes for all of us in the state,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski said this week.

With the vetoes, the state will forfeit at least $22 million from the federal government. Some of the vetoes will cost the state more in federal dollars than they’ll save in state funds. But the really big deal is the transportation money. Alaska could lose up to a billion federal dollars if the state doesn’t fund its share in the capital budget by the end of the month.

Murkowski says she hopes legislators can restore some of the vetoed programs. Meanwhile, she and her staff are trying to identify which federal dollars could be lost and what the deadlines are.

“Accounts and programs are a little bit different in terms of timing, what happens in terms of state match, whether there are opportunities for waiver or delay for that – there’s a lot in the mix. So we’re busy on this end,” she said.

Sen. Dan Sullivan, in an emailed statement from his office, said he’s optimistic state legislators and the governor can reach agreement on the capital budget and avoid losing federal infrastructure money. Congressman Don Young says he’s hopeful, too.