FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 4, 2021
Kluane MLA Congratulates Alaska and U.S. Lawmakers on Shakwak Funding
HAINES JUNCTION – The United States Senate is considering a comprehensive infrastructure plan that includes funding for the rebuilding of the Shakwak Highway connecting the interior of Alaska with the southeast part of the state.
This lives up to an agreement made between Canada and the U.S. in the 1970s to rebuild and maintain the portion of road between Beaver Creek, Yukon and Haines, Alaska. The U.S. would be in charge of funding major reconstruction, while Canada would be responsible for maintaining the highway to the standards of the day. In 2012, the U.S. government removed recognition and funding under the agreement.
“While timelines and exact dollar figures are not yet clear, the fact the U.S. Senate has included this as part of their trillion-dollar infrastructure plan is a step forward,” said Kluane MLA Wade Istchenko whose riding includes the Shakwak project. “I am encouraging Senators to support this key funding for the Alaska Highway and will be writing to representatives of both the U.S. Senate, Congress, and White House to highlight the critical importance of this trade corridor between our two countries. I will also be following up with Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs to ask that they begin lobbying the United States to live up to their Shakwak obligations.”
The Yukon Party Official Opposition has been leading the charge on advocating for renewed funding for the Shakwak portion of the highway.
- On March 14, 2017, MLA Istchenko wrote to the Canadian Ambassador as well as the Alaskan Governor and Senators to lobby for funding to reconstruct the highway.
- On March 28, 2017, MLA Istchenko wrote to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs to ask Canada to raise the issue of funding for the highway with the United States.
- On February 27, 2019, the Leader of the Yukon Party Official Opposition wrote to the Federal Finance Minister asking the Trudeau Government to commit funding in its 2019 Budget for reconstruction and maintenance on the Shakwak Corridor – a request they unfortunately denied.
- On March 7, 2019, the Yukon Liberal Government cut the territory’s highway maintenance budget by $2.5 million that fiscal year
- On April 24, 2019, Yukon’s Minister of Highways and Public Works suggested that the Shakwak portion of the Alaska Highway does not benefit Yukoners.
- On July 29, 2021, both the territorial and federal Liberal government’s made an announcement about investment in highways that completely ignored the Alaska Highway and provided no support for it.
You can read Bill H.R. 3684 here. The section pertaining to Shakwak funding can be found on page 130.