ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday approved a permit for a proposed rail line connecting Alaska and Canada.
So-called presidential permits are required for certain cross-border projects.
Trump sent a tweet Friday announcing his intention to sign the permit for the A2A cross-border line between Alaska and Canada.
Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy thanked Trump Tuesday and called the permit “a game changer for Alaskans.”
“The rail link between our state, Canada and the rest of the country has been a dream for many generations,” Dunleavy said in a statement. “This is a big win for Alaska and our entire country.”
Trump’s tweet Friday 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-kilometer) 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.”
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 she 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.
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