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Anchorage Assembly members unveil proposed jobs and infrastructure plan

Tourism season is approaching, and some businesses are still dealing with worker shortages. Three members of the Anchorage Assembly are unveiling a plan to crea
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 7:00 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Tourism season is approaching, and some businesses are still dealing with worker shortages. Three members of the Anchorage Assembly are unveiling a plan to create a brighter future for local businesses and residents as they recover from COVID-19 with the “A New Day for Anchorage” jobs plan.

Members of the assembly say that in the last two years they have helped businesses and residents stay afloat with the distribution of more than $200 million in federal aid funds that were used to keep businesses open and allow people to stay in their homes. Assembly Budget and Finance Committee Co-Chairs Forrest Dunbar Austin Quinn-Davidson and Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance said that they want to do the same with this next round of COVID-19 relief money.

On Thursday afternoon at the Launch Company, the three assembly members unveiled their proposal. The jobs plan has four pillars: investing in infrastructure, building the local workforce and helping local businesses, support for families, and making the government work for the people.

“Our first project will be to jump start construction and development by proposing that the municipality extend the popular building permit fee holiday program through the end of 2022,” LaFrance said.

She added they are also looking forward to the assembly approving the “Our Downtown district” plan, that sets a path to revitalizing the downtown with new housing, businesses, and amenities.

Quinn-Davidson added that within the plan they want to do things like increase workforce housing through targeted tax incentives so people who are working in Anchorage can afford to live where they work.

“We are going to support as we have done in the last couple of years — through our ARPA and Cares Act distributions — child care programs that can help parents return to and stay in the workplace,” Quinn-Davidson said.

LaFrance said the municipality is expecting more than $50 million in this next round of COVID-19 relief funds. Some of the other initiatives they are looking at are a robust bond package for jobs and infrastructure, and working with the mayor’s office and Alaska’s congressional delegation to maximize infrastructure funds coming to Anchorage.

After the release of the “A New Day for Anchorage” jobs plan event, the assembly members had a roundtable discussion with members of the tourism industry.

The three assembly members said in the upcoming weeks they plan to introduce the plan to the full assembly for feedback, as well as talk to community leaders and residents about their current needs.

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