Breaking: Trump gives approval for Alberta-Alaska rail line to move resources

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President Donald Trump says he is issuing a presidential permit for what’s known as the A2A cross-border rail between Alaska and Canada.

“Based on the strong recommendation of @SenDanSullivan and @repdonyoung of the Great State of Alaska, it is my honor to inform you that I will be issuing a Presidential Permit…” he wrote on Twitter, ignoring Sen. Lisa Murkowski. “Congratulations to the people of Alaska & Canada!”

Sources say Congressman Young has been dogged in his pursuit of the rail line permit, calling the President’s chief of staff on numerous occasions to get the White House’s attention to advance the project, which requires presidential permission in order to cross a border.

Sen. Sullivan spoke with the president in the hours leading up to the announcement, according to MRAK sources.

The A2A line is a private project that has been in the works for years to build a new railway connecting the Alaska Railroad, and Alaska’s tidewater deep port in Anchorage, to northern Alberta, where oil is trapped and unable to get to market.

The project is 1,600 miles long. From there, rail connections link Alaska to the rest of North America. Among those instrumental in working the project hurdles are Alaska’s delegation in Washington, D.C., Gov. Mike Dunleavy, and former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who serves as vice chair of the project at A2A.

More than $60 million has already been committed to the project that will move Alberta oil to the Port of Alaska and global markets beyond. Currently, other ports on the West Coast are in places where the politics are not supportive of such a project that involves resource development.

But with Alaska’s pro-jobs governor and team in Washington, the $17 billion project could come to fruition.

The company has an agreement with the Alaska Railroad Corporation to create a joint operating plan to upgrade and extend the Alaska Railroad mainline between Seward to North Pole.

“It’s basically a large civil construction project that would include a rail corridor of about 500 feet wide across a route that is relatively straight and relatively flat,” Treadwell told a reporter in 2019.

In addition to moving Canadian oil to tidewater on the West Coast, the rail line can also move minerals.

The A2A would come through the Yukon Territory and Fort Nelson, British Columbia, connecting in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

The project envisions a single steel rail line with sidings so trains can travel in both directions. It would require switching yards, water and wastewater facilities, power lines and fiber optic cable. Of the $17 billion construction budget, $14 billion would be spent in Canada. The remaining $3 billion to be spent in Alaska eclipses numerous years of Alaska’s meager capital budgets, which have been in the low hundreds of millions each year.

Numerous regulatory and permitting hurdles remain. Once construction starts, it’s expected to take over three years to complete.

70 COMMENTS

    • That would be my question too. This could provide an alternative way for people (passenger service) to tour Alaska, Yukon, BC as well as another option for Alaskans who want to travel outside as long as it was not too expensive.

      The one downside would be the new route’s exposure to Canadian regulation. as far as oil transportation goes. Right now there is a fair (maybe more than fair!) amount of turmoil in Canada between oil patch friendly provinces in the west & the liberal federal government/provinces. And we see it’s potential as well in the travel restrictions due to Covid imposed on ground travel from/to Alaska thru Canada.

      Just something to consider.

  1. The rail link would be a boon for interior Alaska. It won’t ever get permission to move oil products from Canada to Alaskan ports and rightly so. Oil is not a product that has a future and is far too environmentally damaging to justify transporting across mostly pristine terrain. Its use as a fuel is destroying the biosphere, time to quit the addiction not enable it.

    • China puts 20 million new cars on the road a year. Factor in India, Russia, etc and oil isn’t going anywhere for a long time. There’s a whole world out there not just the little bubble you live in.

      • I’m happily successfully retired after a long professional science and engineering career. I probably know more about this field and topic than you will ever grasp. As to the bubble, I have lived and worked on every inhabited continent and been to more than 95 countries. Have you ever left the town you were born in? I probably still travel, prior to COVID, more internationally in a year than you have in a lifetime. So let’s compare bubbles.

      • I’m happily successfully retired after a long professional science and engineering career. I probably know more about this field and topic than you will ever grasp. As to the bubble, I have lived and worked on every inhabited continent and been to more than 95 countries. Have you ever left the town you were born in? I probably still travel, prior to COVID, more internationally in a year than you have in a lifetime. So let’s compare bubbles, experience, and education.

        • You worked for, let me geuss…
          The government? BTW, since you are so smart, explain what is out there that will replace air travel for amount of energy consumed per seat mile. And yes it’s OIL

    • Alberta’s oil sands are cleaning up a spill that happened around the era of the dinosaurs. It is returning the land to pristine condition it has never seen in human history!

    • Oil doesn’t have a future?
      Look around you, bet you see little that isn’t made from a hole in the ground.

      You first!! Stop driving your vehicle and make a statement and lead by example. Buy a Electric car … Oops made from a hole in the ground. And battery charged by a generation system that once again runs from oil

      • Oil has no future as an energy resource. Its future is as a chemical feedstock for plastic, composites, medicines, and fertilizers. The ICE is dead. Europe has already stopped production of some lines and the rest will be done by 2014. Only electric and hydrogen will be available from 2025 along with efficient and clean public transport. Battery regeneration does not require fossil fuels.

    • Rob: Like it or not sir, oil is the #1 product sold world wide followed by gold and then coffee. This might differ from your sense that it would be solar, wind and garden fresh vegetables, but it’s true! ??‍♂️

    • a2arail.com/

      g7grailway.com/

      Two huge proposals but very similar. A2A claims to have basic financing agreements and G7G also has its act together. This could be a huge step for WEXIT, and I would dare Trudeau to stick his little dinky in the mix. I can see the pissy little jerk stomp his tiny feet and make little fisties and threaten to hold his breath if this proceeds.

  2. This announcement from Trump will surely help Sullivan who is locked in a re-election struggle against “Real Alaskan” , bear killing, cojones sporting, Al Gross. Sullivan , originally from Ohio is a mild mannered fellow whose resume despite graduating Marine Corp PLC cannot rival “Real Alaskan “, Al Gross in the cojones department.
    Young’s opponent, Ms. Galvin might very well confuse Tranny with Trains?

  3. HUGE! Bigger deal than any stupid gas line to no where! Could really open up Pt McKenzie as an international port.

  4. Wow, what a week for 2 Alaska mega-projects. The junior varsity leadership at Pebble shot a big hole in their own boat. Again. Wait there’s more: they gave the Leftists ammunition to flip a US Senate seat, which could flip the US Senate. With friends like Pebble, we don’t need enemies. From now on they should be required to wear orange safety vests advising us to stand clear.

    A rail connection to tidewater and the L48 rail network would be transformative for our economy. With one of the busiest cargo airports in the world, unlimited land and a marine-rail terminal 500 miles closer than Prince Rupert (currently the closest port to major Asian markets), the upside is unlimited.

  5. Finally! This project is right up there with the Alcan Hiway and the Trans Alaska Pipeline. Trump. Sullivan. Young. Economic progressives. They all get my votes.

    • Stupid comment by an ignoramus. As of January 2020, the last 53 years Presidency held 31 years by Rs and 22 by Ds.

      Stock market returns: R = 109% (82%)* D = 992%
      Jobs created: R = 24 M (9M)* D = 42 M
      Income growth: R = 0.6% (-1.6%)* D = 2.2%
      GDP: R = 2.7% (-17.4%* D = 4.1% Trump = 2.1% (-14.7%)* BO = 3.2% *May 2020

      Liar-in-chief’s economy stinks worst ever recorded in US history after being handed the best.

      Businesses closed >100k
      Q2 GDP -42.7%
      Retail sales -16.4%
      Factory output -13.7%
      Industrial output -11.2%
      Unemployment filings >36.5 million
      Unemployment 16.7%
      40% households earning less than $40K have lost a job
      42% of lost jobs will be permanent
      Homeless set to rise 45%
      Oil production down 10.7 million barrels –

      • Great work Rob! I’ve been a patriotic, flag waving, MAGA Trump supporter from day one, but your posts have convinced me that being a Black Live Matters, building burning, cop hating liberal is the true path. Keep up the good work. Your waste of time here is well spent.

      • Rob, oil production down? Really? Where? BTW, statistics don’t lie but idiots like you try to use them in your lies.

          • Rod, its called the Oil Industry, besides political manipulation the market is heavily influenced by a thing called supply and demand. Surely in your vast experience you have noticed this phenomenon. But thank you for sharing your belief system with us.

  6. The reason that “oil is trapped and unable to get to market” is because Canada is smart and banned all oil tankers from their ports in B.C. because they did not want an “Exxon Valdez” to destroy their valuable fisheries and wildlife.
    Alaska is becoming the end of the road in more ways than one and the thought of shipping extremely flammable Bitumen through the pristine river valleys of AK has disaster written all over it.
    Do some google searches for yourself “Bitumen tanker cars explode” and you will see what our current leadership wishes to bring to our great state.

    • ” banned all oil tankers from their ports in B.C.”

      Is Vancouver a port in B.C.?
      Oil is shipped out of that port… thus your assertion is false.

  7. ‘Hear-Hear’ people of Alaska! It’s not much but a firm positive step towards growth, sorely needed.
    Should we not dwell on diatribes of ’empathy’ and vitriol but revive our fundamental supply of health and happiness through ideas, productivity and commerce?

    • Railroads historically have paid their own way from initial investment and acquisition to maintenance and up keep while remaining an economically efficient means of moving goods.

  8. A friend who has worked at the ARR for almost 27 years said that this A2A project got a big boost when Mead Treadwell. He not only has solid connections with the key government officials (Trump, Young, our two senators and Dunleavy), could explain brilliantly why the new railroad would be great for America and Alaska, but he also invested $25 million in the project. I’m sure he’ll earn a lot more when this deal is done, but Mead’s Way to smart to put this much of his own money on the line if he didn’t believe it would be done soon and done successfully. I predict the first trains will be delivering product to our port in 2023 or 2024.

  9. I detest the words Human Resources to describe people or personnel until now : ..”rail line to move resources!” Now all we have to do is demand this will include moving Human Resources. I envision luxury cars owned by private entrepreneurs to facilitate a Business Class way to travel with many side trips available.

  10. This will be able to connect the massive Liard River / Mckenzie River and NE British Columbia gas fields. Plusses everywhere we look. If the Western Canadian Provinces work together and make some sort of agreement with the Southern 48, America could stretch from Alaska to Mexico. It would create the world’s most powerful economy, a world leader in free speech and democracy.

  11. Trudeau will stomp all over this and apply his gender analysis, whatever that means, to the project. He won’t like it because it benefits the west and goes to Alaska who don’t have the same buzz are rules and endless regulations. Tankers banned on the west coast but run rampant in the east. You see clearly JT won’t like it. Gives a little more independence for the west. Private investment and creates jobs. He won’t want that either.

  12. One hopes passenger trains will be frequent, regular users of the railroad line.
    .
    Almost any alternative to Alaska Airlines seems preferable at this time.

  13. I hope I’m around with Trump to see this fabulous project finished. I’d use it at least twice a winter. Plus we’ll have a means to haul our vehicles onboard and a club car with sleeping quarters. All aboard! Thanks Don Young and Dan Sullivan.

  14. Rod, its called the Oil Industry, besides political manipulation the market is heavily influenced by a thing called supply and demand. Surely in your vast experience you have noticed this phenomenon. But thank you for sharing your belief system with us.

  15. I find this ludicrous unless there is going to be significant improvement to the Anchorage port. And the Anchorage Port missed it’s chance when it blew through billions and got NOWHERE. Plus, this is potentially a Yucca Mountain scenario, where a project was built for a specific purpose, only to have the purpose contested once the project was completed. I am all for railroads, especially one that would go WEST in Alaska to support mineral exploration in Alaska and promote the opening of more of Alaska for settlement.

  16. In 2017 the municipalities in Northwest Alberta hosted a full-day symposium in High Level, Alberta called North to Alaska in which the Governor of Alaska sent representatives. Alaska to Alberta (aka A2A … in Alberta we called it Alberta to Alaska) was a presenter and so was the G7G (Generating for Seven Generations). Both of these advocacy groups have merits with differing strengths; but collectively, the A2A, the G7G, and the Northwest Alberta municipalities (collectively called the Northern Transportation Advocacy Bureau – NTAB) have achieved the recognition and notice of the President of the United States and our local politicians! That is a victory and absolutely necessary before anything could be built. Congrats to all the people involved in these initiatives for their unwavering promotion of the vision of a railway linking Alberta and Alaska. Railways, historically build nations … this will be nation building for Canada’s Northwest!! Job well done!!!

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