Congressman Don Young voted in favor of the Democrats’ massive $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which passed the House in late-night voting on Friday.
In a statement, Young said:
“Last night, I voted in support of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly referred to as the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Our country is an economic powerhouse in no small part due to our historical support for infrastructure and other surface transportation projects. Perhaps more than anyone else, Alaskans know just how vital reliable infrastructure is to stay connected with one another and secure upward economic mobility. But I will be honest: when I take a look at some of our roads, bridges, and ports, I do not like what I see. I truly believe that this bipartisan infrastructure legislation may be our last best chance to make the federal investments necessary to modernize and strengthen America’s infrastructure needs for the next century and beyond.”
The bill makes big advances to President Joe Biden’s anti-oil, climate change agenda. It adds $350 billion to the federal deficit.
Young said the bill was not perfect but few pieces of legislation are.
“However, I firmly believe that we cannot sacrifice the good for the perfect. Very frankly, inaction on infrastructure risks our nation’s fundamental economic independence and strength,” he said.
“I am very pleased by the historic investments this legislation makes in Alaska. The bipartisan infrastructure bill authorizes $3.5 billion in federal Highway funding for Alaska over five years. This means we can rebuild, maintain, and construct new roads and highways to better serve Alaskans and keep them safe. The benefits for our state do not stop at highway funding alone,” Young said. The bill also has money for the Alaska Marine Highway System.
“This bipartisan infrastructure bill builds on this progress by providing $1 billion for essential ferry service to rural Alaskan communities. Additionally, it provides $73 million for the construction of new ferries for Alaska, while providing funding for an electric ferry pilot program to help our fleet run cleaner. Finally, for the very first time, the AMHS, will be eligible to receive future federal Highway aid funds for operation and repair. To say that this bill is a game-changer for Southeast is an understatement — this is a once-in-a-generation investment opportunity for Southeast Alaska’s families and economy,” Young said.
There is also money for ports and harbors, with Alaska in line to receive $250 million for remote and subsistence harbor construction for communities off of the road system. There’s also money for broadband access, and $75 million for the Denali Commission.
“I have made it repeatedly clear that I do not like the way this bill made it to the House Floor. It should have moved through regular order, allowing Transportation Chairman DeFazio and Ranking Member Graves to improve the bill. But there are no do-overs now, and too much of America’s infrastructure is already in the 11th hour of its usefulness. This is a solid piece of legislation that will help set the stage for the next century of American competitiveness. Alaskans have known for many years how close transportation is to my heart. In my life, I’ve driven tanks, captained boats, mushed dogs, and flown planes, among other forms of transportation. I have always stood up for our state’s unique needs, and it is my great hope that this bipartisan infrastructure legislation helps America continue to lead the world and better compete with our adversaries,” Young said.
The other Republicans who voted in favor of the bill were Rep. John Katko of New York, Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Rep. Tom Reed of New York, Rep. Andrew Garbarino of New York, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York and Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia.