by Deborah Brocke ~ June 4th, 2013
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the Alaska Railroad are holding a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday June 4th to celebrate the construction of the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension. Governor Sean Parnell, the Mat-Su Borough’s manager and mayor, and the Chief Operations Officer of the Alaska Railroad will attend the ceremony at the Port.
The project began in 2007, with numerous public meetings, studies, and an Environmental Impact Statement to determine the best route for a rail line to connect the deep draft dock at Port MacKenzie to the Alaska Railroad’s main line just south of Houston. The selected route involves 32 miles of new rail line. Three segments of the line are under construction by 117 workers, and another segment will be added in the fall. Since 2009, the Mat-Su Borough has been constructing a bulk commodities road loop at the port.
Project supporters say the increased rail freight activity, and development stimulated by the rail link, would benefit railbelt communities through increased employment, contributions to the state and community tax base, and overall economic health.
The total project budget is $272.5 million.
Maps and more info in pdf below: