President Donald Trump has said he will issue a permit for a rail line connecting Alaska and Canada, he said.
Trump sent a tweet last Friday citing the influence of two members of Alaska’s congressional delegation on his decision, The Anchorage Daily News reported.
“I will be issuing a Presidential Permit for the A2A Cross-Border Rail between Alaska & Canada. Congratulations to the people of Alaska & Canada,” Trump said in the tweet.
Trump credited what he called a “strong recommendation” by U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and U.S. Rep. Don Young, both Republicans, supporting the rail permit.
The 1,600-mile (2,575-kilometre) railroad line would connect Alaska to Canada and the continental U.S., said Mead Treadwell, Alaska vice chair of Alaska to Alberta Railway, the company proposing the project.
The route would run from Alaska’s Interior region through Canada’s Yukon to Alberta. Trains would carry passengers and commodities including grain, fertilizer, pipe, containers and sulfur, Treadwell said.
The line would decrease the time required to move products between Asia and North America, Treadwell said.
A presidential permit would boost investor confidence to spend more money on detailed engineering and environmental reviews, Treadwell said.
Sullivan’s office said the project could expand the state’s transportation system, create jobs, lower food costs and “provide greater security for food and supplies.”
Young said in a statement that he has worked with the White House on the project that “will strengthen our country’s already close relationship with Canada and allow us to work hand-in-hand to responsibly develop our resources.”
Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a statement calling the permit “a major milestone.”
Southcentral Alaska could become an “additional port of the Pacific and world for provinces such as Alberta and Midwestern states,” he said.
Democratic Rep. Sara Hannan was the only state legislator to vote against a May 2019 Alaska House resolution encouraging the presidential permit.
Hannan said she did not oppose the railroad, but is against rail cars possibly carrying Alberta tar sands oil.
“I don’t think we should be encouraging those oil developments because they’re the dirtiest oil we have,” Hannan said.
The Associated Press
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