Rep. Don Young: Earmarks level the playing field for Alaska
"It's that time of year again; the time of year where communities from around the state submit requests for federal funding for their projects of interest and I, in turn, make those appropriation requests to be included in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. This year, I received 289 requests totaling $1.4 billion from various groups, communities, and boroughs in Alaska, as well as from the State of Alaska.

Consistently we hear people say that Alaska gets "more than its share," but that couldn't be further from the truth. Our state is incredibly young and was not part of the U.S. in the mid-1930s when President Roosevelt was laying the groundwork for our country's infrastructure by spending money to put schools, hospitals, and highways in place. Alaska's infrastructure system is not nearly as developed as the other states in our union, and for this reason, we are constantly looking to improve upon it. We are still playing catch-up with the rest of the country, and that takes funding.

Additionally, what people don't seem to understand is that the federal government is essentially Alaska's landlord; nearly two-thirds of our lands are federally owned, and held within those lands are some of the world's largest reserves of natural resources. If we were allowed to manage our own land and responsibly develop our resources the way the state would like, and not have to constantly fight frivolous lawsuits by environmental groups, we would be flush in our own state wealth and not need to lean on the government the way we do now."

Get the Story:
Rep. Don Young: Earmarks help state level the playing field (The Anchorage Daily News 4/1)