The 2,450 mile Alaskan Highway could get an infrastructure boost that’ll also buff up the 200 miles that cross into Canada as well, details of the new bipartisan deal show.
In the breakdown of the 2,702-page deal made available online, the proposal touts “the benefits that will accrue to the State of Alaska and to the United States from the reconstruction of the Alaska Highway” from its border at Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory, to Haines Junction in Canada, and the Haines Cutoff Highway from Haines Junction in Canada to Haines, Alaska.
But it’s not without some strings attached for America’s neighbor to the north — including barring it from collecting any tolls from U.S. drivers or vehicles.
There’s already an agreement for the Alaska Highway Project between the United States and the government of Canada, the proposal noted.
But the language states, “No expenditures shall be made for the construction of the portion of such highways that are in Canada unless an agreement is in place between the government of Canada and the Government of the United States.”
That pact also provides the Canadian government “will provide, without participation of funds authorized under this title, all necessary right-of-way for the reconstruction” and “will not impose any highway toll, or permit any such toll to be charged for the use of such highways by vehicles or persons.”
Canada is also barred from assessing any “fee, tax, or other charge for the use of such highways by vehicles or persons from the United States that does not apply equally to vehicles or persons of Canada.”
Canada also has to maintain its portion of the completed project, according to the deal.
The proposed infrastructure bonus for the highway comes as Canada just announced the award of a $39.6 million contract to upgrade the Alaska Highway roads around Fort Nelson, B.C.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, part of a 10-member group of Republicans and Democrats who helped fashion the trillion-dollar infrastructure proposal, said the deal will especially support states like Alaska that have lagged behind in basic facilities.
According to Murkowski’s office, the deal would include $4.3 billion over five years to help build, repair and maintain the state’s highway system, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
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