The Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) was informed by the office of Congressman Don Young that ARRC will continue to receive funding near current levels through Federal Transit Administration (FTA) formula funds.
Congressman Young served on the conference committee and also serves on the House committee with FTA jurisdiction. Late Wednesday evening a House-Senate Conference Committee reached an agreement on the surface transportation bill that includes funding for ARRC in a new funding formula. Details of the formula and the exact amount of funding for ARRC are not confirmed; however ARRC was told to expect about $31 million compared to the $35.8 million ARRC currently receives. The Senate bill would have reduced ARRC FTA funds by at least 75%. The House bill did not change ARRC FTA funds. The final conference approved bill, according to reports, is close to the House position.
“A great deal of thanks goes to Congressman Young and Senators Murkowski and Begich for their hard work to retain critical funding for the Alaska Railroad in the transportation bill,” said Chris Aadnesen, ARRC President and CEO. “We deeply appreciate their backing as well as the support we received from Alaskans from every corner of the state, our employees, and labor leaders from across the country.
The fact that we had Don Young, who is such a great fighter for Alaska and the railroad, on the conference committee was absolutely invaluable. His long-term relationships with many of the House and Senate
conference committee Members were critical to our success.”
Both the House and the Senate are expected to consider the conference committee approved legislation this week.