The Surface Transportation Board issued a decision granting final approval for the Alaska Railroad Corporation to construct and operate approximately 35 miles of a new rail line connecting Port MacKenzie in south-central Alaska, to a point on ARRC's existing mainline, between Wasilla and an area north of Willow, Ala.
The board’s authorization is subject to extensive environmental conditions to avoid, minimize or mitigate the proposal’s potential environmental impacts and on the condition that ARRC builds the line on the route the board designated as environmentally preferable.
The proposed line would provide rail freight services between the port and Alaska’s interior and would support the port’s continuing development as an intermodal and bulk-material resources export-import facility. Currently, trucking is the only mode of surface freight transportation available in the area to move bulk materials and other freight to and from the port. Without the proposed line, bulk commodity shippers now having access to ARRC’s network must transload freight from rail to trucks and then transport that freight 30 miles from ARRC’s mainline to the port.