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Governor Signs Bills to Further Alaska-Canada RR Link


June 05, 2004

Fairbanks, Alaska - Governor Frank H. Murkowski Friday afternoon signed into law SB 31 and SB 395, two bills that make progress towards a railroad to Canada to connect to the North American railway system. The bill signings took place aboard the "Spirit of Delta Junction" rail car transported to Moose Creek south of North Pole for the event.

"Infrastructure is key to economic development and resource development," said Murkowski. "My administration is working hard to ensure that we have the infrastructure necessary to support the high-paying jobs critical to Alaska's future and these bills do that. The vision of a rail connection from Alaska to the rail system in North America is one step closer."

SB 31, introduced by Sen. John Cowdery, allows for the delineation of a transportation corridor between the existing rail corridor and the Alaska/Canada border. In addition, the bill allows the Alaska Railroad Corporation to investigate the extension of the railroad to Canada, to connect with the North American railway system.

SB 395, introduced by the Rules Committee, authorizes the Alaska Railroad to extend its rail line to Fort Greely, and authorizes the Alaska Railroad Corporation to issue bonds to finance the cost of the extension. The Department of the Army would pay for the annual debt service on the bonds. The bill allows the railroad to extend its mainline track from the Moose Creek Richardson Highway crossing to Delta Junction/Ft. Greely, an 80-mile extension. An additional spur of 15 miles from Flag Hill to the Blair Lakes Military Training Area also will be constructed.

The extension will provide year round transportation support for the Strategic Missile Defense Command forces and the Stryker Brigade combat teams; allow port-to-rail-to-range service that will enhance Alaska as a world class joint/combined training location; permit commuter rail and flexible freight service to Delta Junction/Ft. Greely; and create
significant economic opportunity for development in the Delta Junction region.

"This is an important first step to opening Alaska's vital resources," said John E. Binkley, Chairman of the Alaska Railroad Corporation. "These bills allow the railroad to continue its commitment to unify Alaska communities. The first link is to Delta Junction and then on to Canada."

The bills help further the "Rails to Resources Act of 2000" that Murkowski introduced in the U.S. Senate.


Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
Web Site



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