Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Borough and ARRC partner on Rail Extension

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Thursday, June 28, 2007

PALMER— On June 28, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the Alaska Railroad Corporation signed a memorandum of agreement for a rail extension project to Port MacKenzie. The route is not yet determined.

The rail line would maximize Port MacKenzie's potential as an export and import facility for minerals and construction materials. With a rail connection, the Port's proximity to the Interior makes the development of strategic minerals more economically feasible.

During the 2007 legislative session funding was provided for an environmental impact statement(EIS) for the rail extension. Gov. Sarah Palin approved $10 million for the EIS.

The Borough and Railroad will gather additional environmental and engineering data for a rail project that has been discussed for some 20 years. Two requests for proposals have been released. One contract will be awarded for preliminary engineering. A second contract will be awarded for preliminary environmental work and to develop a public involvement process. The closing date for accepting proposals will be in mid-July.

The contracts will re-examine all previously identified routes in the 2003 TNH reconnaissance study, and gather additional data, which may provide alternative routes not yet considered. All information gathered will be provided to the federal Surface Transportation Board, which will initiate and oversee the EIS.

The contracts could be awarded by August with the EIS is anticipated to start in early 2008.

A Web site will be dedicated to the project for public updates. A fact sheet is attached. Public meetings will be scheduled to inform Borough property owners and residents.

For more information, contact Borough Transportation & Environmental Division Manager Brad Sworts at (907)746-7430 or Project Manager Brian Lindamood at (907) 265-3095 with the Alaska Railroad Corporation.