JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate last week unanimously voted for a resolution urging the U.S. to issue a presidential permit allowing a railroad crossing between Alaska and Canada.
“A railroad connecting Alaska to Alberta would provide a huge boost to our state’s economy,” said Senator Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Access to the North American railroad system would mean faster and more efficient shipping of goods, lowering the cost of living for all Alaskans.”
In 1914, the U.S. Congress passed legislation approving construction of up to 1,000 miles of railroad in the Territory of Alaska, to connect coastal and interior regions to support development, rail service, and military operations. Little more than 500 miles of the Alaska Railroad have been built thus far.
In 2004, the 23rd Alaska Legislature authorized the Alaska Railroad Corporation to delineate a corridor between the existing railroad utility corridor and the Canadian border, as well as to investigate an extension of the Alaska Railroad from the border of Alaska and Canada to connect with the North American railroad system. This connection to Canada and the Lower 48 starts with a border crossing permit into Canada.
No state funds would be required for the construction of a railroad connecting Alaska to Alberta, Canada.
SJR 11 passed the Senate by a vote of 19-0 and is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.