The budget proposes $531 million for state energy projects, including $95 million for field work toward a federal license for the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project. A dam and other infrastructure earlier this year was estimated at $4.3 billion. Parnell said a milestone was reached Friday when a study plan was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Parnell offered no change in the K-12 student base funding formula but proposed $25 million to help school districts deal with higher energy costs. He proposed $68 million for new schools for two southwest Alaska villages, Nightmute and Quinhagak, plus 12 major maintenance projects.
He included $50 million for natural gas pipeline development, split evenly between reimbursement for companies working on a major line under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.
Parnell proposed more than $1 billion in road, airport and ferry spending, including $8.5 million for the Ambler Mining District road, $7 million for the Dalton Highway and $2 million for the Department of Transportation to identify corridors to timber and mineral deposits as part of the "Roads to Resources" program. He included $10 million for a fund for the Knik Arm bridge. The fund built up over time could eventually leverage 30-year tax-exempt financing for the proposed bridge between Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough, he said.