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Alaska Railroad schedules open house in Seward to discuss proposed capital project plans for 2010


Seward event is the fourth and last in a series of open houses along the railbelt

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The Alaska Railroad (ARRC) invites the public to an open house 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, February 19, at the Breeze Inn, 303 N. Harbor Street in Seward.  The venue provides an opportunity to review and comment on a proposed Program of Projects (POP) 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, Southcentral 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

A railroad guest speaker will also provide a capital project update during the Seward Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the Breeze Inn.  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 on January 20, in Wasilla on January 21, and in Fairbanks on January 26.

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 (FTA) grants.  This amount includes a required 9% 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.  

People unable to attend the open house events may visit www.AlaskaRailroad.com for project information.  Questions about the projects or open houses may also be directed to Corporate Communications Officer Stephenie Wheeler at 265-2671.  Written comments may be e-mailed to public_comment@akrr.com or mailed to Alaska Railroad Capital Projects, P.O. Box 107500, Anchorage, AK  99510-7500.
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