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Anchorage Assembly meets again to discuss how to spend first half of $100 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds

Published: Apr. 10, 2021 at 11:12 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -How to incentivize more people to get the COVID-19 vaccine may be one way to fully reopening the Anchorage economy. That’s the belief of members of Roadmap to Vital Safe Anchorage, RSVA.

“If incentives work, great,” said RSVA member Bruce Bustamante. “But the other area that seemed to gain a lot more favor was a more aggressive campaign with the mobile vaccination units, taking it to high population areas and workplaces and such.”

Bustamante, who also heads the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, is among those who spoke at Friday night’s assembly work session on how to spend the first half of $100 million in federal COVID-19 relief money.

Bustamante is also among those who talked about the importance of revitalizing downtown.

“Activate downtown and get people to come downtown,” Bustamante said. “Incentivize investment, and make it easier to do business in Anchorage, and make sure we have government buy-in on our priorities.”

But there’s also a call to expand those efforts.

“It’s for the entire municipality from Portage to Peters Creek. So the vision states as a result of our actions, the Municipality of Anchorage’s economy will be open, thriving, and diverse.”

This is the third workshop for assembly members to consider their options for the money. It will also be the last for a while.

“Until we see how the federal programs are rolled out until we see what the state does with its $1 billion,” said Assembly Chairman Felix Rivera.

The Anchorage Assembly will hold onto its $50 million until then.

The second half of the federal money will arrive next year.

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