Legislature(2021 - 2022)GRUENBERG 120

03/01/2022 01:00 PM House MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
01:05:06 PM Start
01:06:00 PM HJR35
01:23:57 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                 HJR 35-NORTHERN RAIL EXTENSION                                                                             
1:06:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK  announced that  the only order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 35, Supporting the  completion of the                                                               
Northern  Rail Extension;  supporting the  increase in  defensive                                                               
capabilities  at   Fort  Greely,  Alaska;  and   encouraging  the                                                               
development of critical Arctic infrastructure.                                                                                  
1:06:27 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 1:06 p.m. to 1:08 p.m.                                                                       
1:08:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MIKE CRONK,  Alaska State  Legislature, as  prime                                                               
sponsor, presented  HJR 35.  He  said that HJR 35  is a statement                                                               
in  support of  completing the  Northern Rail  extension, because                                                               
the  project   would  help   military  operations,   mining,  and                                                               
agriculture in Alaska's Interior.                                                                                               
1:10:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY asked  about  funding for  the project  and                                                               
responsibility for maintenance.                                                                                                 
1:11:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SUE  STANCLIFF, Staff,  Representative Mike  Cronk, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, answered  that Tim  Sullivan of the  Alaska Railroad                                                               
Corporation informed her  that the estimated cost  to complete 81                                                               
miles in 2013 was $850 million,  and that the current estimate is                                                               
$1-1.6  billion.  Funding  for  the first  phase  came  from  the                                                               
Department of Defense at $104 million  and the State of Alaska at                                                               
$84  million.  Future  funding  for  the  project  had  not  been                                                               
determined. In  response to a  follow up question,  she clarified                                                               
that maintenance  was the responsibility  of the state  of Alaska                                                               
and the Alaska Railroad Corporation.                                                                                            
1:13:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK opened public testimony on HJR 35.                                                                                   
1:13:50 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVE TALERICO,  representing self,  gave a  brief history  of the                                                               
Alaska Railroad  project, including the funding  Congress gave it                                                               
in  1914  for  the  transport   of  certain  goods  and  military                                                               
equipment from Alaska's  harbors to the Interior.   He stated his                                                               
belief  that the  U.S. Government  originally  intended to  fully                                                               
fund the Alaskan Railroad, but  it was never fully completed, and                                                               
that  finishing  the Northern  Rail  Extension  was critical  for                                                               
Alaskan self-sustainability.  He stated  that it would make sense                                                               
for the  federal government to  help with the funding  because of                                                               
the path  it would take  through federal lands and  the potential                                                               
national security implications of nearby Fort Greely.                                                                           
1:18:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK asked about mining in the Tetlin area.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK answered  that it would be  much quicker and                                                               
easier to truck the ore to  Delta Junction than to Fairbanks, and                                                               
that building  the railroad would  potentially open  other mining                                                               
1:20:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  asked if  the project  would be  a necessary                                                               
component of  another project to  connect Alaska to the  lower 48                                                               
through Alberta, Canada.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK replied that it would.                                                                                     
CHAIR TUCK  commented that such  a railroad would  alleviate some                                                               
of  the  issues  with  trucking   during  the  winter,  and  that                                                               
maintaining rails is easier than maintaining highways.                                                                          
1:21:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  asked if  it  would  be possible  for  the                                                               
Alaska  Railroad Corporation  to apply  for infrastructure  grant                                                               
money  previously   mentioned  by  United  States   Senator  Lisa                                                               
1:22:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. STANCLIFF answered  that she believes it is  possible, but is                                                               
not certain.                                                                                                                    
1:22:50 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease at 1:22 p.m.                                                                                 
1:22:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK closed public testimony on HJR 35.                                                                                   
[HJR 35 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HJR 35 Hearing Request 02.23.2022.pdf HMLV 3/1/2022 1:00:00 PM
HJR 35
HJR 35 Version B 02.25.2022.PDF HMLV 3/1/2022 1:00:00 PM
HJR 35
HJR 35 Sponsor Statement 02.23.22.pdf HMLV 3/1/2022 1:00:00 PM
HJR 35
HJR 35 Fiscal Note 02.25.2022.pdf HMLV 3/1/2022 1:00:00 PM
HJR 35