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11/22/2011    Government Oversight

Federal Legislation & Regulation Article
STB authorizes new Alaska Railroad line

Federal Legislation & Regulation
Yesterday, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) granted final approval for the Alaska Railroad Corp. (ARRC) to build and operate a 35-mile line that will connect Port MacKenzie in south-central Alaska to an existing mainline between Wasilla and an area north of Willow.

The board’s authorization is subject to “extensive environmental conditions to avoid, minimize or mitigate the … potential environmental impacts, and on the condition that ARRC builds the line on the route the designated as environmentally preferable,” STB officials said in a prepared statement.

The proposed line would accommodate freight-rail service between the port and Alaska’s interior, and help to support the port’s development as an intermodal and bulk materials export and import facility. Trucking is the only mode of surface transportation available in the area, STB officials said.

The decision follows an extensive environmental review and consideration of public concerns, they said.


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