Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Alaska Railroad open houses to discuss 2010 capital project plans

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The Alaska Railroad is inviting the public to a series of open house to provide an opportunity to review and comment on a proposed Program of Projects for 2010. The open houses will showcase continuing and proposed capital improvement projects that are in various stages from conceptual planning to engineering and construction. Project managers will be on-hand to explain projects that are located all along the railroad system from Seward to Fairbanks.

At the first open house in Anchorage, the emphasis will be on projects located in Anchorage, Southcentral Alaska and system-wide, including:

· Ship Creek Intermodal Transportation Center (Phase Two).

· Ship Creek Security Fencing.

· Rail Capacity Improvements, Anchorage Yard (MP 114) to

Airport Spur (MP 110).

· Historic Freight Shed LEED-certified Office Space Renovation

(an Alaska first).

· Southcentral Alaska Commuter Rail Study Update.

· Port MacKenzie Rail Extension.

· Positive Train Control (Collision Avoidance System).

· Wheel Impact Load Detector.

· Bridge and Track Replacements and Rehabilitation.

The new self-propelled diesel multiple unit (DMU) railcar will be on display at the Anchorage event.

The Anchorage event is the first in a series of POP Open House events. Open Houses are scheduled in Wasilla, with emphasis on projects located in and around the Mat-Su Valley and Southcentral Alaska, in Fairbanks, where emphasis will be on projects located in Interior Alaska, and Seward, where emphasis will be on projects located in and around Seward and Southcentral Alaska.

The Alaska Railroad has budgeted approximately $43.1 million in new spending for capital improvements in 2010. About $14.3 million will come from Federal Transit Administration grants.  This amount includes a required nine-percent matching contribution from the Alaska Railroad. In addition to FTA grant match, ARRC will spend another $19.1 million toward internally-funded capital projects using revenues generated from passenger, freight and real estate activity.

Finally, the railroad will spend about $9.7 million of funds generated from the sale of revenue bonds that were sold in 2006 and 2007. Bonds are repaid with FTA formula fund appropriations.

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