Additional transportation infrastructure is required to move cargo to and from the United States and Northern Canada.
This project supports resource development in the North by mobilizing stranded commodities in regions within Alaska and Canada.
Constructing a railway from Alaska to Alberta will bring economic benefits to both countries, while kick-starting new economic momentum in the North. A2A Rail will link two highly successful regions (Southcentral Alaska ports and northern Alberta) allowing for:
- Dual-direction freight movement to and from North American destinations.
- 24-hour a day operation applying the latest proven technologies in safety and efficiency to meet or exceed industry standards.
- Transport of resource commodities from the North to global markets via the ports of Southcentral Alaska.
- Increased access to historically inaccessible regions and resources creating opportunity throughout the region.
A2A Rail recognizes that safety is critical to the successful operation of modern-day railways. Whether transporting goods, commodities or people over short and long distances, safety must be the foremost consideration for communities, companies and governments.
A2A Rail commits to achieving the highest level of safety standards using the latest technology and industry innovations available. We will exceed industry-regulated standards and make A2A Rail a leader in construction, operational and maintenance safety standards in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.
KEY DESIGN FEATURES
This project has been designed with an eye to reducing fuel consumption, environmental impacts and improving safety through the following measures:
- Lower railway grades (generally 1%) and curvature.
- Infrastructure elements designed to modern environmental and operational standards (bridges, culverts and tunnels).
- A focus on handling non-hazardous goods in a safe and responsible manner with the best available technology.
- Equipping the system with Positive Train Control (PTC) and other state-of-the-art technologies, such as heat detectors to forecast mechanical issues.
- Fiber optics will be installed for continuous communication and monitoring of the railway’s integrity.
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A2A Rail will undergo U.S. and Canadian environmental regulatory processes in order to receive the required environmental approvals and permits to construct the railway. Both the U.S. and Canadian processes will involve development and submission of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and engagement with Indigenous Peoples, Agencies and interested parties.
The A2A Rail EIS process will:
- Analyze the broad interaction of the project with the environment including the air, land and water, plants and animals, people, economy and communities.
- Proactively engage and listen to communities to identify the values that would be considered and studied in the EIS.
- Integrate Traditional Use and Traditional Ecological Knowledge through collaboration with Indigenous Peoples to gather quantitative and qualitative data.
- Partner with technical experts on the routing and design, and to collect scientific data on soils, hydrology, topography and other supporting information.
Our steadfast commitment to reducing the project’s environmental footprint and engaging communities surrounding the corridor throughout each step of development will guide the EIS process.
U.S. Regulatory Process
The U.S. Federal Permitting Process is a comprehensive procedure that utilizes multiple government agencies and resources to conduct a thorough assessment of any given project’s viability in the United States.
Once a Presidential Permit is issued from the White House, A2A Rail will work with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to begin the STB and NEPA Review processes and apply for the necessary permits and licenses for interstate railroad commerce. During the STB process, A2A Rail will work with a 3rd Party NEPA contractor, as well as various federal, state, and local agencies throughout the U.S. to complete the requirements set forth by the STB and NEPA review to ensure that the project proceeds with the best possible data, science and environmental safeguards in place.
Land acquisition for the approximate 200-mile portion in Alaska will come from the State of Alaska lands selected in a joint process with A2A Rail, the Alaska Railroad Corporation, the Department of Natural Resources, and private-land owners along the route.
As the STB and NEPA process unfolds and the needed permits are selected, A2A Rail will update the page with the relevant information to the extensive undertakings.
Canadian Regulatory Process
The Canadian Federal Permitting Process will begin with an extensive environmental impact assessment (EIA) under Canadian legislation. For this project, environmental assessment processes related to the Yukon, British Columbia and Alberta would also apply. This usually results in a decision by the Federal government in cooperation with Provincial and Territorial regulatory bodies to undertake a coordinated, harmonized EIA process through a Joint Panel. This decision would be made following submission of a Project Description and a formal determination that an EIA is required for the project. Following that determination, the government would provide specific guidelines to A2A Rail for the completion of the EIA and would make a decision on the Joint Panel process.
A2A Rail will conduct a range of studies to assess the potential effects of the project, based on best possible data, science and considering environmental safeguards. Participation and relationship building with Indigenous Peoples and communities along the proposed railway route will be critical to informing the EIA. A2A will engage interested parties, Federal, Provincial and Territorial agencies throughout the process.
Following a decision on the EIA to approve the project, applications would proceed for the other Federal, Provincial and Territorial authorizations that will be required.
As the EIA process proceeds, A2A Rail will update this page with relevant information to support participation in this process.
Master Agreement - Alaska
A2A Rail has finalized a Master Agreement with the Alaska Railroad that includes cooperation on permitting, selection of the ROW, economic terms, and authorization to operate on their track and to extend several portions of their system. The A2A Rail project will drive higher utilization of Alaska Railroad facilities and will allow it to better serve Alaska’s resource industry while maintaining passenger service.
Project Cost: Approximately $21+ Billion CAD ($15 Billion USD)
$6 Billion CAD or more will be spent in Alaska.
$15 Billion CAD or more will be spent in Canada.
$4 Billion CAD in steady-state revenues annually are projected to cover costs of operation and capital.
To date, the finances to develop our railway have been provided by its Founders. As the project proceeds, we expect to attract investment from global investors such as infrastructure funds and Sovereign Wealth groups.
We will start by constructing rail from North Pole, near Fairbanks, where the Alaska Railroad ends today. From there the railway will move south and east through Alaska, across into Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and into Alberta. It is approximately 1,600 miles, with roughly 200 miles of new track in Alaska, and the remaining 1,400 miles here in western and northern Canada. We estimate our investment to be $15 billion CAD in Canada and another $6 billion CAD in Alaska. Alaska to Alberta will transport a range of commodities, finished goods and people and it will meet the highest safety requirements for North American railroads.