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3/29/2011



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB issues final EIS for Alaska Railroad's Port MacKenzie extension


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On March 25, the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) Office of Environmental Analysis released a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Alaska Railroad Corp.’s (ARRC) proposed Port MacKenzie extension. The EIS recommends Mac East Variant and Houston South as the optimal route for the 32-mile extension.

Slated for completion in 2014, the $218 million project calls for extending a line between Port MacKenzie and an ARRC mainline. The Mac East Variant/Houston South route would entail the fewest number of environmental impacts vs. other proposed corridors, the STB office determined.

The completed EIS will enable ARRC and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to begin seeking bids in early April for the first five miles of rail embankment, which will be funded by a state appropriation obtained last year. The railroad and borough have requested a state appropriation of $55 million this year to build an additional 12.8 miles of rail embankment next summer.

ARRC plans to hold an open house April 7 in Wasilla to review the Port MacKenzie extension project, which is designed to tap the port’s potential as a bulk resources export and import facility. The port’s 8,940 upland acres and 1,300 tideland acres could accommodate bulk resource storage areas, transport and processing facilities, and rail and terminal facilities, according to the railroad.


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