WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate passed a bill Wednesday evening that would provide additional aid to communities that have been dependent on the timber industry.
The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, would provide aid to rural communities for education and road construction.
The money is earmarked for 800 rural communities, including 28 in Alaska that had previously received a large share of federal timber receipts. Those receipts have dwindled with the downturn in the timber industry over the past 8 years.
''The huge drop in financial support for education and infrastructure has really hurt many Alaska towns and boroughs. This bill reverses those reductions and sets up a steady and reliable flow of federal aid to offset the loss to the local tax base because of federal land ownership,'' Murkowski said in a news release announcing passage of the bill.
Under the measure communities in Alaska would receive a total of nearly $14 million in the next fiscal year.
Among the communities in Southeast slated to receive the funds, Petersburg and Sitka would each get about $1.4 million, Juneau would receive $1.2 million and Ketchikan would get $560,000.
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