On March 12, 2009, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced that she “signed and submitted the certification required under Section 1201 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Ray LaHood” (Transportation, 2009, Â¶1).
Governor Palin submitted a FY2009 federal economic stimulus supplemental bill to legislators on February 24 that requests $461.1 million in authorization for aviation, transit, highway, and bridge projects that will provide jobs and infrastructure improvements in Alaska. The first transportation project – a pier and causeway project in Gustavus using roughly $7 million in economic stimulus funds to match approximately $14 million in federal and state funds – has already gone to bid (Transportation, 2009, Â¶2).
Alaska’s State Department of Transportation and Public Facilities worked with federal agencies to comply with the stimulus package’s “accelerated deadlines for use of the funds” (Transportation, 2009, Â¶3). “This certification assures the secretary of transportation that Alaska will not supplant state-funded projects with federal economic stimulus funds. Stimulus dollars will generate new private sector jobs in Alaska to work on infrastructure projects” (Transportation, 2009, Â¶3).
Further, “[t]he governor also signed a delegation of authority required under Section 1511 of the ARRA to Commissioner Von Scheben of the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities. The delegation ensures that the full review and vetting required by law through the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program is conducted for the infrastructure projects funded by the ARRA and that the investments are appropriate uses of taxpayer dollars” (Transportation, 2009, Â¶3).
Finally, “[t]he governor also signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor that will provide Alaska residents receiving unemployment insurance benefits with a temporary $25 hike in their weekly benefit as part of the federal economic stimulus package. The $25 additional benefit continues through the end of 2009 with a phase out for existing claims through July 3, 2010 (Transportation, 2009, Â¶5).
Unlike those who passed the ARRA, Governor Palin and her staff actually read the legislation. As noted prior, this would have been a golden opportunity for the Governor to make a political grandstand and take a poke at Obama. Governor Palin put the people of her state first and recognized her fiduciary responsibility to them. First, she selected $461 million in transportation and infrastructure projects. She also temporarily hiked unemployment benefits as seen in the foregoing. In selecting stimulus bill items, Governor Palin was diligent to ensure that her state would not be left with unfunded state mandates.
“The ARRA requires states to maintain the same level of state funding for transportation projects that was planned prior to the passage of ARRA” (Transportation, 2009, Â¶1). Governor Palin saw the good in this, and thus wisely chose to accept stimulus funds for transportation projects. Her original acceptance of these funds was discussed in an entry on Wednesday, February 25, 2009. The publicly accessible version of that blog entry is here: Gov Palin’s Reasoned Approach to Stimulus Bill.
Certification places these projects in the budget. Many more steps must be followed till the projects’ completion. As discussed in the prior package and reinforced here, Governor Palin took a wise and reasoned approach to the stimulus bill which puts on display her executive and fiscal astuteness.
Palin certifies transportation projects for economic stimulus funds. (2009, March 12). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved March 13, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1703