November 23, 2009
"This agreement reinforces the desire for partnership that we're already seeing in the meetings and public hearings of the governor's Rural Action Subcabinet," said Attorney General Sullivan, the subcabinet chair. "The state looks forward to respectful and productive discussions with the federal and tribal representatives on improving transportation and dealing with infrastructure challenges throughout the state."
Under the Indian Reservation Road program, about $100 million is available to Alaska's federally recognized tribes. Another $50 million is expected annually. These funds are eligible for a variety of transportation purposes, including projects to improve state roads that are on a tribe's IRR inventory and that are covered under state-tribal agreements.
Sullivan announced the agreement during a speech last Wednesday to the Alaska Municipal League.
The agreement creates a transportation task force, a forum in which transportation issues facing the state can be discussed among the stakeholders with the goal of improving transportation for all Alaskans. A formal organizational meeting already has been held and was well-attended. Other state signatories to the agreement are the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities and the Department of Natural Resources.
"As I said during the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage, our administration seeks a respectful working relationship with tribes," said Governor Sean Parnell. "This joint effort on transportation can create more needed infrastructure for our state."
The Task Force Participation Agreement provides for collaborative planning, construction and maintenance of roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
"Road-building is critical to Alaska's economic future," said Leo von Scheben, commissioner of the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities. "I'm glad that we can form this partnership."
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