Buttigieg started his trip in Kotzebue, a remote village north of the Arctic Circle, where he joined Sullivan and tribal leaders for a community tour and welcome lunch. Throughout the day, they met with air carriers, Kotzebue officials, Northwest Arctic Borough leaders, and representatives from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to discuss transportation issues and hear about work to reduce the costs of bringing in supplies. To end the day, they joined community members for a potluck, and then toured the flight service station at Ralph Wien Memorial Airport in Kotzebue and met with FAA employees.
In Anchorage, the Secretary visited the Port of Alaska, where he joined Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson and other leaders on a tour and saw the implementation of the $68.7 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The investment will help prevent catastrophic failure at the port that would cut off a key point of entry for goods that reach 90% of Alaska’s population. Buttigieg later met with leadership from the Alaska Federation of Natives and the FAA’s Alaska Aviation Safety Initiative. To close out his day, he discussed Medivac operations in Alaska and stopped at the Alaska Airlines Cargo facility at Ted Stevens International Airport, underscoring the vital role of rural aviation infrastructure.
On his final day, Buttigieg joined Murkowski for a five-hour ferry from Juneau to Haines on the Alaska Marine Highway System, a fitting place to announce a new Alaska Marine Highway route designation. In Haines, they stopped at the Lutak Dock, the site of a $20 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, before meeting with community and tribal leaders. To close out the day and his trip to Alaska, the Secretary and Senator took an Alaska Seaplanes flight back to Juneau where they hosted a media availability and discussed critical infrastructure needs.
Buttigieg also announced the first-ever round of grants for Alaska and other states to fix fish culverts — infrastructure that helps move water under roads. If left unrepaired, they can cause flooding and prevent fish passage, a significant issue for tribal communities and jobs that are supported by healthy fish runs. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is helping communities remedy this long-standing problem.