The proposed line will connect the Eielson branch at the Chena river overflow structure to a point near Delta Junction, and will be operated as part of the ARRC network providing freight and potentially passenger services. Construction costs for the line are estimated to be between $US 650 and $US 850 million, with funding likely to be secured from Federal sources and the sale of revenue bonds.
In addition to these funds, the United States Department of Defense (DOD) has already provided $US 60 million for the construction of a Tanana River Crossing which is expected to be the first part of a four stage construction process. The DOD also provided a total of $60.7 million between 2005 and 2008 for the project's initial planning, design, environmental studies and engineering work, $US 44.2 of which was allocated in 2008 for the work required to guarantee access to the US military's Joint Tanana Training Complex.
"After considering the entire public record before it, including both the transportation aspects of ARRC's proposal and potential environmental issues," STB said in a statement, "the Board was satisfied that the proposed line would provide reliable, year-round freight and passenger service to the region south of North Pole; access to training areas used by the military and an alternative to the Richardson Highway, now the sole means for transportation of commercial freight in the project area. The Board was also satisfied that the proposal would foster development of Alaska's economy by expanding ARRC's passenger and freight network to an area currently without rail service."
The Board's decision follows analysis of the September 19, 2009 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) issued by the agency's Section of Environmental Analysis. STB said it was "satisfied that the preferred rail alignment alternatives it authorised, along with the environmental conditions the board imposed, would avoid, minimise or mitigate, to the extent practical, potential environmental impacts."