April 25, 2005
"Our collective action today is moving the concept of an Alaska-Canada rail link forward by ensuring that a rail corridor is feasible," Murkowski said. "With our talks toward a natural gas pipeline progressing well, such a rail corridor clearly has an application."
The study will assess the long-term social and economic benefits of a rail connection to Alaska, Yukon, northern British Columbia, Canada and the United States. It is expected to begin in early May 2005 and be completed by June 30, 2006.
The two governments pledged to create an Alaska-Canada Rail Advisory Committee, comprised of an equal number of seats from both the Alaska and Yukon Territory governments, to oversee the study. The advisory committee would be co-chaired by the two leaders. It would provide general oversight
A Management Working Group, also comprised equally of members from both governments, would study the feasibility of a rail corridor between Alaska and Canada. A member of the Yukon government would chair that group. A project manager based in Whitehorse will manage the feasibility study.
The MOU makes provisions for the two governments to also invite representatives from other governments such as British Columbia, Canada and the United States to serve on the advisory committee.
The Alaska and Yukon governments
have pledged to share the costs of a feasibility study on an
equal basis. Alaska will use about $2.5 million in federal funds
appropriated specifically for rail corridor work.
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