Alaska to receive $2.6M in grants to improve roads, reduce traffic fatalities

Alaska to receive $2.6M in grants to improve roads, reduce traffic fatalities
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 2:13 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A new federal program is aiming to improve Alaska’s most dangerous roadways and help curb traffic deaths, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced Wednesday that millions of dollars in grant awards will be dispersed to hundreds of communities throughout the nation, with Alaska getting more than $2.6 million in funding spread over seven projects.

It’s part of President Joe Biden’s massive 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that allocated $550 billion in new spending for the country’s roads, bridges and transit infrastructure.

Alaska’s cut of the funding will go to help improve seven different regions:

  • Kenai Peninsula Borough – $960,000
  • City and Borough of Sitka – 550,000
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough – $479,600
  • City and Borough of Juneau – $280,000
  • Ketchikan Gateway Borough – $200,000
  • City of Saint Paul – $200,000
  • City of Mekoryuk – $6,263.08

All seven projects are considered action plans, which are used to help lay the groundwork for communities that do not have a plan in place.

Buttigieg cited America’s statistics when it comes to residents being killed on roadways — an estimated 42,915 people were killed on U.S. roads in 2021, which was a 16-year high. A recent report also concluded that motor vehicle crashes cost the U.S. $340 billion in 2019 alone.

“Every year, crashes cost tens of thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy; we face a national emergency on our roadways, and it demands urgent action,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “We are proud that these grants will directly support hundreds of communities as they prepare steps that are proven to make roadways safer and save lives.”