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Economic Study in Favor of Alaska-Canada Rail Link
The study pointed that the construction of the 1,600-mile or 3,300-kilometre line between existing railroads in Alaska and Canada would encourage mining development and open a new trade route to Asia.
The study suggests a public-private joint venture can only support such a mammoth project because projected freight shipping revenues over 50 years would cover only about 75% of the full $10.5 billion investment. Along with linking two major regions, the project would create $11.4 billion in net public benefits such as increased employment over the next five decades.
According to the study, it was surmised to build a line from the Canadian National Railway in northern British Columbia, passing through Yukon to the government-owned Alaska Railway and to the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway.
Rail cars to and from Alaska have to travel by barge at present, so constructing the line would improve the state’s economic security by adding transportation options. Moreover, access to rail service would make digging mines in the region more economically viable.
The scientists also opine that the Asian trade via containers could also become a revenue source in the region.
For long there have been calls to construct a railway between Alaska and the rest of the continent since early 1900s, and only in 2000 the U.S. Government sanctioned $6 million to study the feasibility of such an idea.
However, the study acknowledged that the line would have an environmental and social impact on the wilderness area, therefore needed further study. It is simply an idea and needs to be researched further to convert it into reality.