Senate panel moves bill for UA facilities

An artist’s rendering of the new Engineering building at UAF. (Image courtesy the College of Engineering and Mines website)

An artist’s rendering of the new Engineering building at UAF. (Image courtesy the College of Engineering and Mines website)

A bill that would provide funding to complete University of Alaska engineering buildings is moving forward.

The Senate Education Committee on Wednesday advanced SB40. The bill would provide $106.9 million to complete the buildings at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Alaska Anchorage.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Johnny Ellis, says Alaska is facing a dearth of qualified engineers, despite its higher-than-average need for them to address Alaska’s complex energy and infrastructure issues.

Sens. Charlie Huggins and Mike Dunleavy stressed the need to keep the state’s deficits in mind when spending millions of dollars, especially in light of declining oil production.

The bill now moves to the Senate Finance Committee, where Dunleavy said there would be a “robust” discussion on financing the projects.

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Senate panel moves bill for UA facilities

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