Monday, February 01, 2010

Alaska RR schedules Seward open house to discuss capital plans

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Alaska RR schedules Seward open house to discuss capital plans | Railway Track & Structures

The Alaska Railroad invites the public to an open house February 19 in Seward to provide an opportunity to review and comment on a proposed Program of Projects for 2010. Open House displays are open to the public and will be set up in the inn's Mount Marathon meeting room. Displays 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, with an emphasis on projects located in and around Seward, South-central Alaska and system-wide, including:

• Alaska Railroad dock investments, including dredging around all three docks (West, East and Coal) and security fencing around the East Dock.

• Seward Coal Loading Facility Improvements.

• Seward Depot Restroom Facility (new building next to the depot).

• Track-side Train Power Hook-up near the depot, reducing the need for locomotives to idle in order to provide power to a parked train.

• Chugach Forest Whistle Stop Service (continued progress on the whistle stop site infrastructure between Portage and Moose Pass).

• Rehabilitation of the railroad bridge in Moose Pass and other bridge work • Safety improvements to protect against rock slides at the Tunnel about 50 miles north of Seward. 

• Whittier Master Planning and efficiency improvements to the Whittier Barge Dock.

• Port MacKenzie Rail Extension (Environmental Impact Study draft anticipated in 2010).

• Collision Avoidance System.

• Track Rehabilitation

The Seward open house is the fourth and last in a series of Alaska Railroad POP Open House events. Other open house events were held in Anchorage, Wasilla and Fairbanks.

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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