Congressman Don Young Announces Member Directed Projects Awarded by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Projects in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Fairbanks were approved among thousands of submissions vetted by the Committee.
Washington, June 7, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Alaska Congressman Don Young announced that three of the Member Directed Projects he submitted to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure were approved by the Committee. These awards were included in the INVEST in America Act, which will be marked up by the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday, June 9th. Projects approved include $7.9 million for the reconstruction of Cowles Street in Fairbanks, $6.5 million to replace Bridge 114.3 in Anchorage, and $5.6 million for the Seldon Road Extension in Wasilla.
"I am encouraged that following my advocacy for the return of Congressionally directed spending, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is including funding for three separate Alaskan projects as part of the INVEST in America Act," said Congressman Don Young. "For too long, my colleagues and I have been unable to directly request funding for specific projects in our districts. This decade-long ban on 'earmarks' served only to shift Congress' rightful power to appropriate money to the Executive Branch, while denying needed funds to local entities. This Congress, through the Member Directed Projects program, we have begun to take incremental steps toward fully restoring the Article I powers of Congress. The projects approved by the Committee are important ones, and I am grateful for the chance to directly advocate on behalf of these endeavors and the communities they will support. The Alaska Railroad is a critical part of our economy. I am pleased that the Committee has approved replacing the structurally obsolete bridge at the Railroad's Anchorage yard. In Wasilla, I have secured approval for the Seldon Road Phase 2 extension, which would increase access to schools, and emergency services such as firefighters and paramedics. Finally, the Cowles Street reconstruction project's funding approval would improve connections between communities and bolster Cowles Street, which provides 61% of the community's total annual ridership. Discussions surrounding federal investments in infrastructure will continue, and Alaskans can count on me to keep standing up for our state and its unique transportation needs. Although an improvement over the status quo, this process was flawed in that Members were evenly allotted a set amount of funding without taking into account the size or makeup of their districts. Unfortunately, this program favored large population states at the expense geographically expansive states like Alaska, which generally have higher project costs. It is my great hope that the Member Directed Projects program proves successful and is updated appropriately so that we as a Congress can better support our constituents using the power of the purse."
Congressman Young’s Member Designated Funding requests and financial interest certification letters:
Project Name: Replace Bridge 114.3
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Project Sponsor/Requestor: Alaska Railroad Corporation, 327 West Ship Creek Ave
P.O. Box 107500 Anchorage, AK 99510-7500
Amount Awarded: $6,421,000
Project Name: Cowles Street Reconstruction
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Project Sponsor/Requestor: Fairbanks Area Surface Transportation Planning, 100 Cushman Street Suite 205, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
Amount Awarded: $8,745,000
Project Name: Seldon Road Extension, Phase 2
Location: Seldon Road, Wasilla, Alaska 99654
Project Sponsor/Requestor: Matanuska-Susitna Borough (MSB), Alaska
Amount Awarded: $5,623,800