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WATCH: Congressman Don Young Secures Commitment from Coast Guard to Expand Operations in Alaska

WASHINGTON, D.C. During a Tuesday hearing of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Alaska Congressman Don Young questioned the Coast Guard’s Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, Vice Admiral Paul Thomas, on a number of topics. At the hearing, Congressman Young pressed Vice Admiral Thomas on the Coast Guard’s plans to utilize funding from the recently enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for projects in Alaska on the Coast Guard’s Unfunded Priorities List (UPL). The IIJA included $429 million dollars to fund projects on the Coast Guard’s UPL and childcare facilities. The FY22 UPL included $188 million in projects slated for Alaska.

Responding to the Congressman, Vice Admiral Thomas confirmed the Coast Guard’s commitment to funding these projects and investing in Kodiak for housing and pier upgrades. These upgrades will support expanded operations and additional investments in Sitka, Seward, and Ketchikan to support the deployment of additional Fast Response Cutters to these communities. These commitments represent significant progress in upgrading the Coast Guard’s presence and capabilities across Alaska.

In addition, the Congressman pushed the Coast Guard to look to the future and plan to expand its footprint in Alaska as the Arctic becomes a global focal point for commerce and strategic competition. As part of this expansion, Vice Admiral Thomas reiterated the Coast Guard’s intent to reestablish a forward operating location on St. Paul Island to better assist with search and rescue operations. The Congressman continues to be a leading advocate in Congress for the Coast Guard and their mission to serve Alaska and the nation.

To watch their exchange, click here.

"The Coast Guard is crucially important to Alaska, public safety, and national security. I have been a long-time advocate for the Coast Guard in Congress, and continue to advocate for more Coast Guard vessels to be homeported in various locations in Alaska. The Coast Guard rightly speaks of the ‘tyranny of distance’ in Alaska; with more coastline than the Lower 48, the Coast Guard has rightly prioritized investments in our state and should continue to do so. The $429 million included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is going to be vital as we work to expand the Coast Guard’s presence,” said Congressman Don Young. “I am grateful to Vice Admiral Thomas for his commitments to building more ports in our state and for his support to reestablish a forward operating location on St. Paul Island. Additionally, I welcome his focus on the Arctic and the opportunities it holds for our nation as the region’s profile continues to rise in the years ahead.”

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