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Railroad connecting Alaska to Canada clears hurdle as Trump intends to issue Presidential Permit

A rail line connecting Alaska to the Lower-48 through Canada is another step closer to reality as President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Permit allowing the line to cross the US-Canada Boarder in Alaska.
A rail line connecting Alaska to the Lower-48 through Canada is another step closer to reality as President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Permit allowing the line to cross the US-Canada Boarder in Alaska.(John Dougherty/KTVF)
Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 6:01 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - President Donald Trump tweeted his intent to issue a Presidential Permit allowing the Alaska to Alberta (A2A) Railroad to be able to build across the border between Alaska and Canada. In a tweet later Friday, Trump said he made the decision at the recommendation of Congressman Don Young and Senator Dan Sullivan.

The A2A Rail is a proposed railroad between Alaska and Alberta, Canada that would connect Alaska to the rest of the lower-48 by rail line. The $17 billion project was waiting for a Presidential Permit before they were able to move to the next stage of planning and secure key investment funding.

Mead Treadwell is the Vice Chair, Alaska for A2A and said that investors wanted assurance that the railroad would be allowed to cross the border before they gave money to the project. Presidential Permits have often taken years to be granted, sometimes spanning multiple presidential administrations.

“We felt this was a significant risk for the project, we couldn’t really wait for 12 years to make something like that happen,” Treadwell said.

Treadwell praised the Trump administration and Alaska leaders who helped get the grant approved. He said Young, Sullivan and Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy were key in getting the permit before Trump and getting it signed.

Now that the Presidential Permit is secured, he said that the company will focus on getting land right-of-ways as well as securing environmental permits. Treadwell said he doesn’t expect those to be a problem, saying that the railroad is the most environmentally friendly way of getting goods to and from Alaska.

“This is going to be found to be one of the greenest ways to transport goods in and out of North America, it’s one of the greenest ways because we have got fewer mountain ranges to deal with, so less twists and turns so that means you are using less energy to go the same amount of miles,” said Treadwell.

Treadwell also said they will use the newest technology available to ensure it is environmentally friendly. He said he expects the next phase of permitting to take around two years before they are able to make the final investing decision and break ground.

Once they begin construction, Treadwell said the railroad will bring thousands of jobs to Alaska. He also said it will help Alaska’s economy in other ways.

“It will help raise our states GDP probably by about 10%, it’s very very significant. It makes our mines more economic, it can expand tourism passenger service, it makes our ports more economic, which all these things will help reduce the cost of living for Alaskans while providing more jobs.”

He said during construction it will add around 6,000 jobs and once operational, there will be an additional 4,000 jobs in the state.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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