Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

04/25/2019 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

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Audio Topic
01:08:18 PM Start
01:08:40 PM SJR11
01:21:06 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SJR 11 U.S.-CANADA RAILROAD PRESIDENTIAL PERMIT TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSJR 11(TRA) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        SJR 11-U.S.-CANADA RAILROAD PRESIDENTIAL PERMIT                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:08:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL announced that the  only order of business would be                                                               
CS FOR  SENATE JOINT  RESOLUTION NO.  11(TRA), Urging  the United                                                               
States  to issue  a Presidential  permit  authorizing a  railroad                                                               
crossing of the Alaska-Canada border  from state land into Yukon,                                                               
Canada; and supporting cooperation  between the United States and                                                               
Canada   to   establish    a   public-private   partnership   for                                                               
construction of  a railroad  from Alberta,  Canada, to  the state                                                               
that  would connect  the Alaska  Railroad to  the North  American                                                               
railroad system.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:09:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SHELLEY  HUGHES,  Alaska  State  Legislature,  as  prime                                                               
sponsor  of  CSSJR  11(TRA), relayed  her  appreciation  for  the                                                               
committee's enthusiasm and appreciation for the project.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:10:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL opened public testimony on CSSJR 11(TRA).                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:10:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEAD TREADWELL,  Principal, Treadwell Development,  reviewed that                                                               
CSSJR  11(TRA) would  request a  presidential [permit],  which is                                                               
required  for any  infrastructure that  crosses the  boarder from                                                               
the  U.S. and  its  neighboring  countries.   He  talked about  a                                                               
pipeline project to cross the  border between Canada and the U.S.                                                               
taking a  long time to  get resolved, and the  President recently                                                               
signing an executive  order that "brought that power  back to the                                                               
White House.  He said one  of the questions that global investors                                                               
ask is what is going on  with the presidential permit.  Regarding                                                               
the permit  process, he  said his client,  the Alberta  to Alaska                                                               
Railway ("A to  A"), "has decided to put this  one up front," and                                                               
he said  he thinks  the United States  Department of  State ("the                                                               
State Department")  will accept  an application  in the  next few                                                               
weeks  "after they  publish  their guidance."    He mentioned  an                                                               
anticipated process  of about 60  days and then  a recommendation                                                               
following that in about 40 days.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TREADWELL  reviewed the  route  of  the proposed  rail  into                                                               
Alaska.  He said the idea of tying  a railroad in to the Lower 48                                                               
has been  discussed many times  in the last  100 years.   He said                                                               
the  plan to  bring the  rail line  into Alaska  would bring  the                                                               
North American rail  to the closest point in Asia  via Cook Inlet                                                               
ports.   It  would come  through Fairbanks,  and it  would be  "a                                                               
dramatic  boost   to  the   economy."     He  said   following  a                                                               
presidential  permit,   this  would   be  an   extensive  process                                                               
involving the  Alaska Railroad Corporation and  the Department of                                                               
Natural  Resources  (DNR)  under  "the 460  process,"  which  the                                                               
legislature set  up in the early  2000s.  He said  there would be                                                               
an extensive process for the  Surface Transportation Board, which                                                               
will  bring  all corporate,  federal,  state  agency, and  tribal                                                               
entities  together to  consider the  right of  way in  Alaska, as                                                               
well as  a process  with  the  Canadian Transportation  Agency to                                                               
get right of way  for almost 1,500 miles.  Once  that is done, he                                                               
said  A to  A is  hopeful that  the project  can be  financed for                                                               
approximately  $17  billion  and sees  revenue  possibilities  to                                                               
cover that financing.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:15:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  related to Mr.  Treadwell that at  the committee's                                                               
last hearing  on CSSJR 11(TRA),  there was  a lot of  interest in                                                               
the  idea.    He  noted   that  committee  member  Representative                                                               
Talerico is  sponsoring another  piece of  legislation to  try to                                                               
get a rail  built from Fairbanks to Delta.   He suggested perhaps                                                               
the A to A  project might come to North Pole  directly.  He asked                                                               
Mr.  Treadwell to  confirm  that  the A  to  A  project would  be                                                               
privately funded.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. TREADWELL confirmed  that is correct.  He said  he had spoken                                                               
with Representative Talerico's staff.   He said he was lieutenant                                                               
governor  at  the  time  the  first part  of  the  Northern  Rail                                                               
extension had been completed, including  the Tanana River bridge.                                                               
He mentioned the  groundwork for the A to A  project, and he said                                                               
whether  the  extension between  North  Pole  and Delta  Junction                                                               
happens before the  A to A project begins,  "we're committed with                                                               
the Alaska  Railroad to roll  that up  into the financing  of the                                                               
overall project."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL inquired  which issues may need to  be addressed in                                                               
the construction of the railroad.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. TREADWELL answered  that there is no  concern about relations                                                               
between Canada and  the U.S.  He pointed out  that the White Pass                                                               
Yukon Railway  has operated for  about 100 years, and  it crosses                                                               
the  border.   He said  specific right  of way  issues, including                                                               
talking with landowners, "are likely to come later."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TREADWELL, in  response to  a question  from Co-Chair  Wool,                                                               
said the  route ties in  with the Canadian National  Railroad and                                                               
the Canadian  Pacific Railroad, as  well as accessing  oil fields                                                               
at Fort McMurray.  He said there  are at least two spots that tie                                                               
in the rail to the Lower 48.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:19:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STUTES relayed  her  hope that  this  project would  be                                                               
expanded to passenger travel.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL responded, "I can't see why they wouldn't."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:20:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STUTES  moved to report  CSSJR 11(TRA) out  of committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and  the accompanying zero fiscal                                                               
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:20:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RASMUSSEN objected.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:20:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease at 1:20 p.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:20:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL closed  public  testimony on  CSSJR  11(TRA).   He                                                               
asked Co-Chair Stutes to restate the motion.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:20:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STUTES  moved to report  CSSJR 11(TRA) out  of committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and  the accompanying zero fiscal                                                               
note.  There  being no objection, CSSJR 11(TRA)  was reported out                                                               
of the House Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SJR011 Fiscal Note S.TRA 4.16.19.pdf HTRA 4/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
SJR 11
SJR011 Explanation of Changes from ver M to U.pdf HTRA 4/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
SJR 11
SJR011 S.TRA CS ver U 4.16.19.pdf HTRA 4/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
SJR 11
SJR011 Sponsor Statement 4.16.19.pdf HTRA 4/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
SJR 11