TESTIMONY OF
TREFON ANGASAN, CO-CHAIR
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES
U. S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON
ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
HEARING ON TRANSPORTATION NEEDS
OF RURAL ALASKA
APRIL 14, 2003

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Madam Chair, Honorable members of the U. S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, ladies and gentlemen:

 

For the record, my name is Trefon Angasan, Co-chair, Board of Directors of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN). As you may already know, AFN is a statewide Native organization formed in 1966 to represent Alaska’s 100,000+ Alaska’s Eskimos, Indians and Aleuts on concerns and issues which affect the rights and property interests of the Alaska Natives on a statewide basis.

 

On behalf of AFN, it’s Board of Directors and membership, thank you very much for inviting me to submit my comments regarding the transportation infrastructure needs in Alaska, and in particular, as these needs impact rural Alaska. It is a privilege and honor to testify in front of your Committee.

 

I ask that this written statement and my oral comments be incorporated into the record of this public hearing. I further request that the record of this hearing remain open for at least two weeks so that representatives of the Alaska Native Community may submit their comments regarding this issue as well.

 

Rural Alaska is a home to more than 200 villages; and in many of these villages, unemployment ranges from 60 to 80%. Many of the people in rural Alaska are unemployed and will remain unemployed, not because they do not want to work; but because there, for all practical purposes, no jobs, other than jobs provided by the village corporations, IRAs, and other governmental agencies in rural Alaska.

 

ANCSA CORPORATE LANDS

 

Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), enacted into law on December 18, 1971, Congress authorized transfer of 44.5 million acres of land back to the Alaska Natives through their ANCSA Corporations. ANCSA promised, in part, that the settlement of the claims of the Alaska Natives against he federal government “should be accomplished rapidly, with certainty, inconformity with the real economic and social needs of Natives...” [1]

To date, none of the village and regional ANCSA corporations created pursuant to ANCSA has received their full land entitlements. One of the reasons of this delay is the lack of funds needed for the survey of the lands selected by the ANCSA corporations.

 

The ANCSA Corporations, and in particular, the regional corporations selected their land entitlements based on natural resources explorations they conducted on the withdrawn lands from which they may select their land entitlements. Red Dog mine on NANA Regional Corporation is an example of a successful land selection process by a regional corporation. One of the primary reasons why the Red Dog mine is a success is access to the land where the zinc is located.

 

Not all of the ANCSA lands with natural resources potential are being developed at the present time. Two of the primary reasons for this are lack of affordable electricity and lack of infrastructure in place. The case in point on this is the Donlin Creek properties. It is estimated that Donlin Creek property has 11 million measured and indicated ounces of gold with a cutoff of 1.5 grams of gold per ton.[2]

 

CREATING JOBS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

New studies undertaken by the Alaska Federation of Natives show that little has changed since 1994, when the Alaska Natives Commission concluded in its final report that “acute and chronic” unemployment was undermining Native society. Simply put, Alaska Natives need more jobs and economic opportunities, in both the urban areas (where many people have migrated to because of the depressed economic conditions in their home communities) and in rural Native villages.

 

DEVELOPING TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE

One of the means of creating jobs and economic development opportunities in rural Alaska is access to affordable electricity as well as the development of transportation infrastructure.

 

I believe that improving transportation infrastructure in rural Alaska is a critical corner stone to promoting economic development opportunities in rural Alaska. It will result in improved access; lower the cost of living where it is really needed; increases export opportunities, enhances mineral, oil and natural gas exploration and will help to stimulate economic activities in rural Alaska.

2002 ANNUAL CONVENTION OF ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES

 

The Alaska Native Community recognizes that the transportation needs of rural Alaska are one of the paramount needs that exist and should be addressed in such a manner that their best interests are addressed. To that end, the delegates to the 2002 Annual

Convention of AFN passed the following resolutions unanimously:

 

1. RESOLUTION 02-08, NEW ALASKA NATIVE VILLAGE TRANSPORTATION INITIATIVE: This resolution, in part, requests Alaska’s Congressional Delegation to consider the inclusion of a new Alaska Native Village Transportation Initiative in the Congress’s TEA 21 Reauthorization. The creation of this initiative would guarantee, in part, that §2(b) of ANCSA is implemented for the best interests of the Alaska Natives.

 

2. RESOLUTION 02-34, A RESOLUTION REAFFIRMING THE DIRECTION OF THE ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES STAFF TO TAKE ACTION TO RELAX THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS POLICY: One of the biggest impediments of construction of navigational systems that would provide safe travel to and from the villages is the Cost/Benefit Analysis Policy of the Corps of Engineers. This resolution calls the Corps of Engineers to view the projects in rural Alaska with a more relaxed approach they use when they view projects in the rest of the United States.

 

3. RESOLUTION 02-38, INDIAN RESERVATION ROADS PROGRAM REGULATIONS, POLICIES, FUNDING AND MANAGEMENT: The Delegates to the 2002 Annual Convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives, Inc, urges that the Secretary of the Interior to issue FY 2003 IRR program funds in the same manner as FY2002 including administrative capacity building funds; that the funding method for distribution of IRR program management and oversight funds to the 12 BIA Regional offices, including the Alaska Region, must be equitable distributed so that all Federally Recognized Tribes can expect to receive a comparable level of BIA service from the “6%” IRR program management and oversight funds; and finally, the establishment of a policy that requires BIA Department of Transportation to collect required data for the fair and equitable implementation of the IRR formula from all Regions, and requiring it assist and/or gather the required information for non­responsive, non-reporting Regions prior to the implementation of the IRR funding formula for any given year.

 

4. RESOLUTION 02-39, DISTRIBUTION METHODOLOGY FOR FY2003 INDIAN RESERVATION ROADS (IRR) PROGRAM: The Delegates to the 2002 Annual Convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives, Inc., that the method for distributing IRR program funds in FY2003 should include Administrative Capacity Building funds in the amount of $35,000 per tribe; and

5. RESOLUTION 02-40, Reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21St Century (TEA-2 1) Including the Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) Program: The delegates to the 2002 AFN convention urges that the reauthorization legislation clearly specify that the IRR Program is fully subject to PL 93-638 contracting/compacting at all levels and that the program may be contracted according to tribal formula shares; that the delegates support an increase in the Department of the Interior Appropriations for the IRR Road Maintenance Program to no less than $127 million annually in a manner which does not reduce appropriations to other BIA programs; and that the funding method for distribution of IRR program management and oversight funds to the 12 BIA Regional offices, including the Alaska Region, must be equitable distributed so that all Federally Recognized Tribes can expect to receive a comparable level of BIA service from the “6%” IRR program management and oversight funds.

I ask that my statement and all its attachments be incorporated into the record of this hearing. The attachments are as follows:

 

1. Copies of the resolutions I cited in this testimony;

 

2. Copy of February 7, 2003 letter from Mr. Dimitri Philemonof, President and CEO of the Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Association, Inc. (APIA) to Julie Kitka, President of AFN. In this letter, Mr. Philemonof defines the transportation and transit needs of APIA region;

 

3. Copy of February 14, 2003 letter from Mr. Terry Hoefferle, COO of Bristol Bay Native Association (BBNA) to Julie Kitka, President of AFN. In this letter, Mr. Hoefferle defines the transportation and transit needs of BBNA region; and,

 

4. Copy of March 11, 2003 letter from Ms. Loretta Bullard, President of Kawerak, Inc. to Julie Kitka, President of AFN. In this letter, Ms. Bullard defines the transportation and transit needs of Kawerak region.

 

Finally, please review each of the letters I attached to my statement as they define the transportation and transit needs of these regions of Alaska.

 

Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions concerning this statement, I can field them now.

ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES, INC.
2002 ANNUAL CONVENTION
RESOLUTION 02-08

 

TITLE:            NEW ALASKA NATIVE VILLAGE TRANSPORTATION INITIATIVE

 

WHEREAS: Rural Alaska is decades behind the rest. of the United States in regard to basic community road infrastructure; and

WHEREAS: Many villages have totally unimproved road infrastructure, experience annual flooding, dust control problems, and other problems; and

 

WHEREAS: The existing Indian Reservation Roads program has never adequately served Alaska or met more than a small fraction of the road construction. needs of Alaska Native villages; and

 

WHEREAS: Having adequate road infrastructure is essential to any economic development and for health and safety; and

 

WHEREAS: The State of Alaska encompasses about 1/5 the land mass of the rest of the United States but has the least mileage of roads; and

 

WHEREAS: Two-thirds of the communities of Alaska have no outside roads access.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Delegates to the 2002 Annual Convention of the Alaska Federation Natives, Inc., that it requests the Alaska Congressional Delegation to include a new Alaska Native Village Transportation Initiative it the reauthorization of the national highways bill.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that.the Alaska Native Village. Transportation Initiative should, to the maximum extent feasible, provide for the following:

1.     Local tribal or regional control of planning, project selection, and construction.

 

2.     Native contracting authority pursuant to PL 93-638.

 

 

3.     An annuitized maintenance fund for village roads projects.

 

4. Adequate training for construction and maintenance of village

transportation infrastructure.

ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES

2002 ANNUAL CONVENTION

RESOLUTION 02-34

 

 

TITLE:            A RESOLUTION REAFFIRMING THE DIRECTION OF THE ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES STAFF TO TAKE ACTION TO RELAX THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS POLICY

WHEREAS: The Alaska Federation of Natives Convention adopted resolution 99-48 which called for the Alaska Federation of Natives to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Alaska Congressional Delegation to relax the cost benefit policy, and

 

WHEREAS: Efforts were undertaken to implement resolution 99-48, however, the process requires a renewed effort to change the Federal cost benefit policy and its application to rural Alaska Native Villages, and

 

WHEREAS: A similar resolution was adopted by the AFN Convention in 2001; and

 

WHEREAS: That the AFN staff report to the AFN Board of Directors on the progress in the implementation of this resolution, and

WHEREAS: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grants funding based on a cost/benefit analysis policy, and

WHEREAS: Rural Alaska communities that need projects to protect their communities infrastructure or to enhance economies are denied funding based on the cost/benefit analysis, and

WHEREAS: Rural Alaska communities with predominantly small populations and economies will not qualify for projects funded by the UPS Army Corps of Engineers based on the cost/benefit analysis, and

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives calls for action to relax of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cost/benefit policy; and, .

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Alaska Federation of Natives works closely with the Alaska Congressional Delegation, U.S Army Corps of Engineers, National Congress of American Indian and other federal, tribal, regional, and state agencies to relax the cost/benefit analysis of the Corps to permit the construction of the rural Alaska infrastructures.

SUBMITTED BY:                        NATIVE VILLAGE OF UNALAKLEET

COMMITTEE ACTION:                        DO PASS TIER 2

CONVENTION ACTION:                        PASSED

ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES
2002 ANNUAL CONVENTION
RESOLUTION 02-38

 

TITLE:           INDIAN RESERVATION ROADS PROGRAM REGULATIONS, POLICIES, FUNDING AND MANAGEMENT

WHEREAS: Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, the highway legislation enacted in 1998, tasked the Secretary of the Interior to develop the Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) program regulations and a funding distribution formula under a negotiated rulemaking process; and

 

WHEREAS: The IRR program can provide funding to Alaska Native villages and communities which traditionally have been particularly underserved in regards to transportation and road infrastructure; and

 

WHEREAS: A federal notice for proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for the IRR Program, 25 CFR Part 170, was published in the Federal Register on August 7, 2002; and

WHEREAS: The final rule regarding the IRR program funding formula is unlikely to be implemented until fiscal year 2004; and

 

WHEREAS: Several provisions of TEA-21 directly affect the Indian Self­Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA), Public Law 93-638, as amended by tribes to contract Indian Reservation Road projects,

WHEREAS: The Secretary of the Interior may only release FY 2003 IRR funds in accordance with a formula established under a Negotiated Rulemaking which includes representation from Alaska; and

 

WHEREAS TEA-21 authorizes $1.6 billion for the Indian Reservation Roads Program for fiscal years 1998-2003,

 

WHEREAS: The IRR program management and oversight funds are provided to the 12 Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Regions to provide for inherently federal IRR functions including IRR program technical assistance; and

WHEREAS: The BIA has historically distributed funds for IRR program management and oversight to the 12 BIA Regional Offices based on the old relative need formula, a method that does not take into account the difficulty in providing services to the 228 Alaska Native Villages; and

WHEREAS: The Alaska Native Villages have not received an equitable level of BIA inherently federal services when compared to the Tribes from other BIA regions; and

WHEREAS: The BIA Alaska Region Office have been unable to provide Central Office all required IRR road inventory and construction cost data for Alaska’s tribes as required for fair and equitable distribution of IRR funds nationally; and

 

WHEREAS: The IRR Negotiated Rulemaking committee did not consider the method for distributing IRR program management and oversight funds; and

 

WHEREAS: The BIA has a policy currently in place that limits the number of miles at can be added to the BIA’s IRR Inventory to 2% per year; and

 

WHEREAS: Most Native Villages in the State of Alaska do not have an IRR inventory that identifies at a minimum all community streets or, primary access routes; and

WHEREAS: The most current IRR Inventory Update for Alaska has 57 tribes with a Cost-to-Improve of zero; and

 

WHEREAS: The amount of funding to Alaska Native, Villages for 2% tribal transportation planning is less than $3,000 per year as distributed by the region; and

WHEREAS:                        The IRR Maintenance Program is grossly under funded;

 

WHEREAS The purpose of the Indian Reservation Roads Program is to provide safe and adequate transportation and public road access to and within Indian  reservations, Indian lands, and communities for Indian and Alaska Natives, and others, while contributing to economic development, self­-determination, and employment of Indians and Alaska Natives,

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Delegates to the 2002 Annual Convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives, Inc, that the Secretary o the Interior be urged to issue FY 2003 IRR program funds in the s me manner as FY2002 including administrative capacity building funds; and

 

LET BE IT RESOLVED that the delegates support the Tribal Transportation Allocation methodology developed by the IRR negotiated rulemaking committee which provides for a minimum allocation of IRR Program funds to all Federally Recognized Tribes and the establishment of High Priority Projects to provide for tribes that would not generate enough funding under the funding distribution formula to construct their highest priority project within the period of the transportation authorization; and

 

BE IT RESOLVED that the delegates support the elimination of the BIA policy to limit increases to the IRR inventory for funding purposes to 2% o per year, and that at a minimum all IRR Inventories should include for funding purposes all community streets and all primary access roads or trails; and

BE IT RESOLVED that the delegates support an increase of no. less than. $100 million annually in the Department of the Interior appropriations for IRR road maintenance without harming other BIA programs, and that a method .for equitable distribution should be tasked to the IRR program coordinating, committee identified within the NPRM; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the funding method for distribution of IRR program management and oversight funds to the 12 BIA Regional offices, including the Alaska Region, must be equitable distributed so that all Federally Recognized Tribes can expect to receive a comparable level of BIA service from the “6%” IRR program management and oversight funds; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the delegates support, the establishment of a policy that requires BIA Department of Transportation to collect required data for the fair and equitable implementation of the IRR formula from all Regions, and requiring it assist and/or gather the required information for non-responsive, non-reporting Regions prior to .the implementation of the IRR funding formula for any given year.

 

SUBMITI’ED BY:  KAWERAK INC., ASSOCIATION OF VILLAGE COUNCIL PRESIDENTS

COMMITTEE ACTION:                       DO PASS TIER 2

CONVENTION ACTION:                       PASSED

ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES, INC.
2002 ANNUAL CONVENTION
RESOLUTION 02-39

 

TITLE:                        DISTRIBUTION METHODOLOGY FOR FY2003 INDIAN RESERVATION ROADS (IRR) PROGRAM

WHEREAS: The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the highway legislation was enacted in 1998 and is valid through FY2003; and

WHEREAS: TEA-21 required the development of a distribution formula for the IRR program through a Negotiated Rulemaking process; and

WHEREAS: The final rule for an IRR funding formula is not yet available and is not expected to be available for FY2003; and

WHEREAS: In FY2000, FY2001, and FY2002 the distribution methodology for the IRR program was done on an interim basis as negotiated by the IRR Neg-Reg committee; and

WHEREAS: The amount of 2% Tribal Transportation Planning funds available to tribes within the State of Alaska has been insufficient to perform viable transportation planning; and

WHEREAS: The method for distribution for both FY2001 and FY2002 included special funding for Administrative Capacity Building in the amount of $35,000 per tribe to those tribes that applied; and

WHEREAS: The Administrative Capacity Building funds were desperately needed and greatly appreciated by the Native Communities within Alaska;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Delegates to the 2002 Annual Convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives, Inc., that the method for distributing IRR program funds in FY2003 should include Administrative Capacity Building funds in the amount of $35,000 per tribe; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Delegates to the 2002 Annual Convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives, Inc. direct the Alaska Contingent of the IRR Neg-Reg Committee to negotiate for the continuation of the $35,000 Administrative Capacity Building funds and provide this resolution as formal comment to the IRR Co-Chairs, the IRR Neg-Reg committee, the Assistant Secretary Indian Affairs, and the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration.

SUBMITTED BY:                        KAWERAK INC

 

COMMITTEE ACTION:                        DO PASS TIER 2

CONVENTION ACTION:                        PASSED

ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES
2002 ANNUAL CONVENTION
RESOLUTION 02-40

 

 

TITLE:           REAUTHORIZATION OF THE TRANSPORTATION EQUITY ACT FOR THE 21sT CENTURY (TEA-21) INCLUDING THE INDIAN RESERVATION ROADS (IRR) PROGRAM

WHEREAS: The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) is the current highway transportation legislation through which federally­funded road construction is authorized; and

 

WHEREAS: TEA-21 was enacted in 1998 and is valid through FY2003, but must be reauthorized by Congress in 2004; and

 

WHEREAS: TEA-21 includes authorization for the Indian Reservation Roads (“IRR”) Program, which is the federal program appropriated to the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) and administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) that provides roads construction funds to Indian tribes, including Alaska Native tribes; and

 

WHEREAS: TEA-21 required the development of IRR program regulations and funding formula through a negotiated rulemaking process, and the work product of this process was published in the Federal Resister as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) on August 7, 2002; and

 

WHEREAS: Alaska Natives tribes have been historically underserved by the IRR program due to lack of IRR road inventory data, incorrect application of cost data by the BIA, and other problems with the administration of the program by the BIA; and

 

WHEREAS: The NPRM addresses many of the problems in the operation of the IRR program, but the federal members of the committee blocked development of regulations for several significant areas of concern, and not all problems related to the funding distribution were addressed; and

WHEREAS: Some of the remaining problems in the IRR construction program are:

-        The IRR inventory the BIA uses to distribute funding does not include even minimally complete road inventories from Alaska Native villages; - BIA has effectively “locked out” Alaska tribes by imposing a policy limiting the miles that can be added to the BIA’s IRR Inventory to 2% per year;

 

-        Alaska’s actual road construction costs are not applied in the “cost to construct” portion of the IRR funding formula; - The amount of funds available to the BIA Regions for program management and oversight is inequitably distributed;

 

-        The “2% tribal transportation planning” funding has been on average less than $3,000 per tribe per year in Alaska and is inadequate to address even basic planning;

 

-        BIA continues to resist full applicability of PL 93-638 to IRR funds; and

 

WHEREAS: The BIA Roads Maintenance Program, which is currently outside of TEA-21 and funded in the Department of the Interior appropriations, is grossly under funded nationally at $26 million per year; and

 

WHEREAS: There are other programs within the reauthorization of TEA-21 that could better serve the tribes through direct access of the programs at the U.S. Department of Transportation; and

 

WHEREAS: A national TEA-21 Reauthorization Task Force sponsored by the National Congress of American Indians has developed a national tribal position on TEA-21 reauthorization, that includes: - increasing IRR appropriation to $500 million per year;

 

-        Additional tribal set-asides for the Federal Transit Authority and other programs within FHWA;

 

-        Increases to bridge funding;

 

- Various technical corrections to the administration of the IRR program;

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Delegates to the 2002 Annual Convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives, Inc., that they support, in general, the national position of the NCAI Reauthorization Task Force in regard to funding increases, additional tribal set-aside programs, and technical corrections to the administration of the IRR program; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Delegates request specific legislative changes to the IRR program that require the BIA to:

 

1) Develop IRR road inventories for each Alaska Native village, including at a minimum all village streets, primary access roads and trails, and economic enhancement projects identified by the tribe, and to use such inventories in the funding distribution for the IRR program;

 

2) Use actual construction cost data from Alaska when applying the IRR funding formula and to update such data annually;

 

3) Continue the allocation of Administrative Capacity Building funds at $35,000 per tribe throughout the authorization period; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the reauthorization legislation clearly specify that the IRR Program is fully subject to PL 93-638 contracting/compacting at all levels and that the program may be contracted according to tribal formula shares; and.

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the delegates support an increase in the Department of the Interior Appropriations for the IRR Road Maintenance Program to no less than $127 million annually in a manner which does not reduce appropriations to other BIA programs; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the funding method for distribution of IRR program management and oversight funds to the 12 BIA Regional offices, including the Alaska Region, must be equitable distributed so that all Federally Recognized Tribes can expect to receive a comparable level of BIA service from the “6%” IRR program management and oversight funds.

SUBMITTED BY:                        KAWERAK, INC

COMMITTEE ACTION:                        DO PASS TIER 2

CONVENTION ACTION:                        PASSED

Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Association, nc.

201 E. 3rd Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska
99501

Phone: (907) 276-2700 Fax: (907) 279-4351 February 7, 2003

Ms. Julie Kitka, President Alaska Federation of Natives 1577 “C Street, Suite 300 Anchorage, Alaska 99501

 

Re:          Rural Alaska Transportation Needs/Projects Dear Ms. Kitka:

The Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Association is pleased to respond to your request for a list of high priority transportation needs in the Aleutians and Pribilofs region. Attached to this letter you will find a list of priority projects by community, but which have not been prioritized on a region-wide basis.

As you are aware, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Highway Administration have made planning funds available to tribes under the Indian Reservation Roads Capacity Building program. The tribes in our region have utilized this temporary funding to address long-range transportation planning, update and correct roads into the BIA road inventory system, and do cooperative’ inter-agency planning at the local, state and federal level. In addition, to the projects listed on the enclosed priority list, our villages have identified a need for continued funding for transportation planning at the local level. Efficient, viable and safe transportation is vital to the well-being of the residents of our region who live in some of the most remote and difficult to access’ areas of Alaska.

 

We look forward to working with you on the transportation needs for Alaska Natives. Please feel free to contact Bobby Jo Kramer, Transportation Planner, at (907) 276-2700 if you have any questions regarding transportation issues in our region.

Sincerely,

 

Dimitri Philemonof

President and CEO

Enclosure

High Priority Transportation Projects in the Aleutians and the Pribilofs

Tribe/Community

Aviation

Marine

Roads

Trails

Adak, City of

1)Airport Safety

Improvements and

Rehabilitation

 

 

Community Trails

Planning

 

2) Airport Snow

Removal

Equipment

 

 

 

Akutan Traditional

Council

Construct Land-

based Airport

Construct Boat

Harbor

1)Boat Harbor

Road

2)Airport Road

Hot Springs Trail

Atka IRA Council

Airfield Extension

Waterline to Fish

Plant

1)At(ax Way

Reconstruction

 

Belkofski Village

Council

 

Small Boat

Landing

Community Roads

Reconstruction

Moss Cape Trail

Cold Bay

Lengthen

Crosswind Runway

1) Small Boat

Harbor

2)Dock

Improvements

1) Pave

Community Roads

2)Russel Creek

Bridge

Walking/Biking

Pathways

False Pass Tribal

Council

1)Airfield Terminal

Building

2)Airfield Lighting

Small Boat Harbor

1) New Landfill

Road

2)Airport Road and

Bridge Repair

1) Boardwalk from

Dock

2)Community

Trails Plan

Agdaagux Tribal

Council of King Cove

1)Airfield Paving

Project

2)Airfeld Terminal

Building

Lenard Harbor

Construction

1)King Cove to

Cold Bay Access

Boardwalk

Extension

Nelson Lagoon Tribal

Council

1)Airport Fire Truck

and Equipment

2)Airport Terminal

Building

1)Dredge & Buoy

Main Channel

2)Small Boat

Harbor

1) Airport and

Landfill Road

Reconstruction and

Paving

2)Street Lights

Community Bicycle

and Trails Plan

Nikolski IRA Council

Airfield

Maintenance and

Navigational

Equipment

 

I)Bluff Road to

New Septic

Disposal

Site/Landfill

2)Airport Road

3)Main Street

Community Trails

Plan

Pauloff Harbor Tribe

 

Small Boat

Landing

1)Sanak Peak

Road

2)Big Bay Road

3)Salmon Bay

Road

4)Finneys Bay

Road

Community Trails

Plan

St. George Tribal

Council

Airport Paving and

Improvements

Harbor

Improvements

1)Ulakaia Hill Road

2)Zapadni Bay

Improvements

Community Trails

Plan

St. Paul Tribal Council

Airport Paving and

Improvements

Harbor

Improvements

New Landfill Road

Construction

 

Qagan Tayagungin Tribe

of Sand Point

Airport Water and

Sewer Connection

1)Harbor: Public

Facilities

2)City Dock

Renovation

1)Community

Roads Paving

2)Road Drainage

Renovation

3)Apartment Hill

Road Realignment’

4)Street Lights

5)Harbor Road

Renovation

1)Boardwalk

Renovation

2)Hiking Trails

Construction

3)Island Hiking

Trail

Qawalangin Tribal

Council of Unalaska

 

 

 

 

Unga Tribal Council

 

 

Unga Street

Renovation

Delarof Bay Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

From:                       “Judy Jaworski” <jjaworski@nativefederation.org>

To:                       “AFNBOD <AFNBOD@nativefederation.org>

Date:                       1/24/03 12:01 PM

Subject:                       FW: Memorandum to the AFN Board

ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES, INC.

 

1577 “C Street, Suite 300 Anchorage, Alaska 99501

(907) 274-3611 - Fax: (907) 276-7989

MEMORANDUM

 

TO:                       AFN Board of Directors

 

FROM:                       Julie Kitka, President

 

RE:                        Rural Alaska Transportation Needs/Projects

 

DATE:                       January 22, 2003

 

AFN staff held a Roads Strategy Meeting on January 21, 2003 to continue our efforts in creating employment and economic development opportunities for Alaska Natives and Alaska Native organizations in transportation and related fields. One major discussion was to find ways and means to assist The Honorable Don Young, Chairman of the U. S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to establish highway and transit projects in the State of Alaska.

 

AFN is willing to consider incorporating the transportation needs of the Alaska Natives into the Alaska Statewide high priority transportation plans; however, we think that it is in the best interests of the Alaska Natives to work directly with Chairman Don Young of Alaska in establishing the high priority transportation needs of the Alaska Natives on their own merits. In doing so, we feel that the Alaska Native Community would be able to establish local and Native control leading to Alaska Native hire in the development of transportation needs of the Alaska Natives in rural Alaska.

 

Please furnish AFN your existing high priority transportation needs from your respective region. In defining the transportation needs of your region, include where they are needed, a brief description of such needs and include a brief justification for each need. We will incorporate what you send us into what we would characterize as Statewide Alaska Native Highway and Transit Needs. Once this is established, we will submit this package to the Honorable Don Young for his consideration.

 

During the course of this meeting, the participants decided that Alaska Federation of Natives would act as a clearinghouse for the high priority transportation needs of the Alaska Natives, and Julie Kitka,

President would be in charge of this clearinghouse on behalf of AFN.

 

A major priority of the Denali Commission in 2003 is to establish a statewide transportation system for Alaska. To this end, then Senator Frank Murkowski introduced S. 3106, the “Denali Transportation System Act.” This bill would have amended the Denali Commission Act of 1998 such that it would be authorized to deal with statewide transportation infrastructure by incorporating the urban and rural highway and transit projects in the State of Alaska.

 

Attached, please find the following for your review:

 

1.           TEA 21 REAUTHORIZATION: This is a copy of a letter written by Congressman Don Young and James L. Oberstar to the U. S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure requesting the committee members to identify specific surface transportation projects that would improve surface transportation in the districts of the committee members.

 

2.              TRANSPORTATION NEEDS SUMMARY: This document summarizes the various transportation needs throughout the State of Alaska.

 

3.         Rural Transportation Plans: This document was used by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities in briefing the Denali Commission on its rural transportation plans.

 

4.              Denali Commission Quarterly Meeting: This is briefing paper on Rural Transportation Plans for Alaska on the issue of Community and industrial transportation needs in rural Alaska. The last three pages of this document lists the Department of Transportation’s High-Priority List and identifies the projects under the Project Title.

 

5.           Copy of S. 3106: This is a copy of a bill that was introduced during the second Session of the 107th Congress. This bill would amend the Denali Commission Act of 1998 by establishing the Denali transportation system in Alaska. This bill died when the 107th Congress adjourned. This bill may be reintroduced in its present form during the 108th Congress.

 

I am looking forward to hearing from you concerning the high priority transportation needs of your respective regions as soon as possible.

 

Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions concerning this memo, please call me at AFN. In my absence, please ask for Nelson N. Angapak, Sr. of my staff. He is working with me on this issue.

 

CC: “Julie Kitka” <juliekitka@nativefederation.org>, “Nelson Angapak” <nangapak@nativefederation.org>, “Carol Daniel” <cdaniel@alaska.net>, “Mike Irwin” <mirwin@nativefederation.org>, “Jennifer Cesar” <jcesar@nativefederation.org>, “Judy Jaworski”

 

BRISTOL BAY NATIVE ASSOCIATION PO:;BOx 3I0,,,

DILLINGHAM ALASKA 999576

PHONE (907) 842-5257

Julie Kitka, President

Alaska Federation of Natives 1577 “C” Street, Suite 300 Anchorage, AK 99501

Re: Bristol Bay’s Transportation Needs Dear Julie:

February 14, 2003

RECEIVED FEB 24 2003

Please consider this letter a summary of our region’s transportation needs.. We’re pleased to see that AFN will be working with Representative Don Young and the Denali Commission to address transportation infrastructure needs in our state.

 

We view improving transportation in our region as a critical comer stone to promoting economic development. It results in improved access; lowers the cost of living; increases export opportunities; enhances mineral, oil, and natural gas exploration and development (which will lower our region’s extremely high energy costs), and will help to stimulate economic activity in our region. With the Bristol Bay area having been declared an economic disaster four out of the last six years, there’s,a strong need for employment opportunities in our region.

 

Our highest transportation priority is to address our region’s fisheries transportation needs. Despite our fishery experiencing severe economic problems, we anticipate our fishery to play a vital role in our region’s economy.

 

A. All-tide docks, boat ramps, and staging areas:

 

Our region’s salmon fishery once had as many as 24 salmon buyers (many of whom were floating processors) however we’re now down to about 7 or 8 salmon buyers (now mostly shored-based processors). If Bristol Bay’s salmon runs begin to rebound and the returns come back strong, we envision the need to move salmon as quickly as possible from tenders to either on-shore processing plants or airports for shipment to world markets.

 

Improving access for cargo and fish delivery is essential for our coastal fishing communities - not only to stimulate local economic activity and create jobs, but to also improve upon raw fish landing taxes. The region’s lack of all-tide docks, boat ramps, and

staging areas also has a direct impact on salmon quality. At times, salmon tenders must wait up to six (6) hours on Bristol Bay’s high tidal conditions before they can deliver salmon to shore-based processing plants. Many of our coastal villages that get freight via barges during the summer months need larger facilities and staging areas to accommodate the transfer of freight.

 

1. Togiak Dock & Staging Area: $ Unavailable

 

The city of Togiak would like to construct a dock and staging area in their village to enable barges to offload cargo in their community. This facility will be constructed near the community’s old cannery.

 

2. Togiak All-tide Boat Ramp, Staging Area, and Access Road: $ Unavailable

 

The city of Togiak has plans to construct an access road to a deepwater site located west of the village and would like to construct an all-tide boat ramp and staging area at the site. This project would enable the community to improve their access to the fishing grounds to help diversify their fishing economy. The Togiak fishing district not only produces salmon and herring but is rich with shrimp, crab, yellowfin sole, sea cucumbers, sea urchins and other species. - Without these combined projects, Togiak fishermen must wait on tidal conditions to access shore-based plants and their community

3. Dillingham All-tide Dock: $4.1 million

 

The City of Dillingham has plans to construct an all-tide dock. This dock will be build where the old Dillingham Cold Storage dock currently exists and is no longer being, used. It will be located adjacent to the existing container dock. It will extend seaward 100 feet beyond where the old cold storage existed, and the face of the dock will reach the minus 4 foot tide mark for the area. It will be build out of steel and be 5 feet lower than the old cold storage dock to facilitate greater cargo handling for the community - determined at up to 18 hours per day.

 

4. Chignik Public Dock: $4 million

 

Despite being a hub community for 5 communities in the Chignik area, this community does not have a public dock. This project will construct a new public dock/port facility that consists of an all tide, deep draft, 300 foot heavy capacity dock, boat lifts, eight acres of uplands for storage, cargo handling, fish processing and boat repair, and facilities to accommodate the Alaska Marine Highway System. The design and permitting process are nearly complete.

5. Naknek All-Tide Dock:                        $5 million

 

The Bristol Bay Borough wants to construct an all-tide dock in Naknek. Plans for this facility will include temporary boat mooring accommodations. The face of the dock structure will extend to the edge of the existing river channel to accommodate limited capacity low tide access. Basic services provided at the facility will include fuel, water, ice and electricity to the dock structure. It will also provide upland development facilities that will include as a minimum: Public parking, restrooms, laundry, showers and fish processing. The site should ideally be located such that additional land area is available to include future expansion and development for value-added fish processing and other related commercial development. Preliminary project design and construction cost goals are to be about $5 million.

 

6. Perryville Cargo Dock:                        Estimated @ $1.8 million

 

The community of Perryville has been trying for years to obtain funds to construct a cargo dock near their community. To date the community uses a towed landing craft that is park on the beach in front of the village to haul cargo, however this barge cannot be used during windy onshore conditions. The community would prefer to use steel pilings to construct the dock, however is willing to utilize interlocking metal sheets filled with cement to haul cargo on. The construction of this dock would enable the ferry, system that travels between Chignik and Sand Point to stop at their community.

 

B. Airports: 6,000-foot runways in each commercial fishing district:

 

Area communities want 6,000’ runways so goods can be flown in directly from Anchorage instead of being shuttled through hub communities, and salmon can be flown directly to both domestic and international markets. These 6,000’ runways are considered critical to communities in the western part of the region because the State Department of Transportation (DOT) has no long-term plans for construction of roads between these communities. Every major fishing district in our region should have at least one 6000’ airstrip, paved and lighted to enable the movement of fish and heavy cargo into and out of that district.

 

Many villagers pay in excess of 200% for the same loaf of bread or gallon of milk, etc, when compared to Anchorage’s store prices (most “fresh items” are simply not available). Fuel oil and gasoline follow suit with costs per gallon well in excess of $2.50 to $4.00. Extremely high electrical costs are yet another direct result of short airstrips, due to limitations on the number of gallons smaller aircrafts are able to transport on a “per flight” basis. Additional flights have to be made to fly-in fuel in sufficient quantities to get the smaller communities through the winter months. This drives the costs up dramatically.

Villagers in our region who live only a few miles apart are unable travel to the village “next door” due to costs of flights or lack of scheduled air transportation. Not only is this a safety issue, the lack of adequately sized runways limits the size/capacity of aircraft that can be used to provide needed fuel, groceries and deliver and/or backhaul freight (fish). The result is a lower standard of living due to a much higher than average “cost of living”

 

To date, Dillingham has a 6,400-foot airport; King Salmon has a cross-strip airport that measures 4,000 feet and 8,500 feet respectively; and Egegik recently had a 5,600-foot airport constructed.

 

1. Togiak Airport Extension and Cross-strip Completion: $ Unavailable

 

The community of Togiak, which is the second largest community in the region, would like to complete the extension of the cross-strip that is currently closed. The Bureau of Indian Affairs recently upgraded the roads in the community, and began to construct a cross-strip however did not complete the project because funds were exhausted. The cross-strip is only 1,920 feet long. The community has a 4,400-foot east and west airport that should be extended to 6,000 feet to accommodate “Herc-able” cargo planes to fly salmon out from the community.

 

2. Chignik Airport Lighting & Resurfacing: $1.4 million

 

The community of Chignik would like to install airport lighting and resurface its 2600’x 60’ runway, taxiway and apron with 9” of new gravel.

 

3. Clark’s Point Airport Completion & Extension: $ Unavailable

 

In 2002, DOT began constructing a new airport in this community, which is located in the hub of Nushagak’s commercial fishing district, however had to stop its construction because a section of the airport kept settling. This particular airport should be completed and extended to accommodate large cargo planes to land in the community and fly fish out.

 

4. Pilot Point Airport Extension: $ Unavailable

 

The community of Pilot Point serves as the hub community for the Ugashik commercial fishing district. It recently had a new 3,280-foot airport constructed, however the community needs an airport that is at least 6,000 feet long to enable large cargo planes to fly salmon out.

C. Roads:

Roads should be constructed from hub or regional airports to villages nearby. Villages need to be & deserve to be connected by road, if not to the outside `road system” at least to the closest hub or regional airport. In many cases, four wheeler trails exist between villages and usually follow the best routes due to local knowledge of the terrain, impacts from rivers, winds, etc. Many of these trails should be examined and where possible, improved and made into at least seasonal roads adequate enough to transport fuel and freight over during the summer and fall.

 

1. Williamsport/Pile Road: Roads $10 million/(including port facilities) Corps $3.9 million

 

The Lake and Peninsula Borough has been working to get the Williamsport/Pile Bay road and bridge upgraded. This one-lane road has been used to haul Bristol Bay commercial fishing boats between the Cook Inlet area and Bristol Bay, however the bridge is too small to accommodate most of today’s larger 32’ vessels. Plans are to make it a two-lane road and increase the size of the bridge to accommodate larger boats. To improve on accessing the road at Williamsport on the Cook Inlet side, the Army Corps of Engineers would need to dredge the area. Once this route is upgraded, freight costs to the Iliamna Lake area communities is expected to decrease substantially. The Lake and. Peninsula Borough has agreed to maintain the road.

 

2. Iliamna/Nondalton road: $5 million

 

This DOT project will complete the road link between the communities of Iliamna, Newhalen, and Nondalton. The project has been “work in progress” since the 1970’s and the road is substantially complete for 13 miles to the proposed bridge site at the Newhalen River. The project consists of road improvements from the Iliamna airport to the bridge site (13 miles), a one-lane bridge over the Newhalen River, and significant improvements for the remaining 2 miles to Nondalton. Engineering and permitting activities are almost complete.

 

3. Anchorage to Bristol Bay road/railroad feasibility study:

 

Many in Southwest Alaska support some type of ground transportation connection to Alaska’s road system or rail-belt. Such a connection is discussed in the Southwest Alaska Transportation Plan and should be pursued with Federal dollars as soon as practical. If the mineral exploration now occurring within the region proves to be viable, serious consideration must be given to a transportation inter-tie to either the road system or the railroad. The community of King Salmon fully supports the construction of a road or railroad from Anchorage to their community. This particular feasibility study should

include documentation of village support from communities that are expected to be impacted (i.e. resolutions of support from all the Iliamna communities).

 

D. Expand the Alaska FerrylSystem in Bristol Bay.

 

While Southeast, Southcentral, and Alaskan Peninsula communities located on the Gulf of Alaska enjoy the benefits of the Alaska Ferry System, no benefits are realized in Bristol Bay. Once the WiOiamsport/Pile Bay road and bridges have been upgraded, and dredging is completed at !the Williamsport site, then the Alaska Ferry System can offload passengers and vehicles at Williamsport.

 

In the future, there’s a need to take a serious look at expanding the Alaska Ferry System into Bristol Bay served by the “Blue Canoe” to Naknek’s deepwater dock. From that deepwater dock, smaller, ‘high-speed ferries can be utilized accessing communities around Bristol Bay and up the Kvichak River to Iliamna Lake area. It makes sense to incorporate more, smaller, high-speed ferries to enable service to the Bristol Bay area.

 

By-pass Mail:

 

Other than improving transportation needs, there’s a need to protect “by-pass mail”. Communities depend upon the bypass mail rates to help keep the cost of living down. Tons of groceries an supplies are mailed annually to all the villages. It is imperative that the intent of’ the original by-pass mail provision to reduce cost be maintained.

 

Thank you for your attention on this matter. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me at 1-800-478-5257 or email me at terryh@bbna.com.

 

Sincerely,

 

BRISTOL BAY NATIVE ASSOCIATION

Terry Hoefferle, Chief of Operations



[1] §2(b) of P.L. 92-203

 

[2] Placer Dome, April 9, 2003.