Commuter Rail for Alaska

"An Idea Whose Time Has Come"

Rail is for the Environment

Railroads are an important part of addressing the climate emergency. The low friction of smooth steel wheels rolling on smooth steel rails allows rail transportation to emit only a third of the greenhouse gas emissions of highway transportation. This is true even when a diesel-electric locomotive such as that used by the Alaska Railroad, is pulling the train. If future trains could be electrified, they would need two-thirds less new electric power generation than highway transportation.

Rail is for the Community

Railroads reduce demand for expensive road widening, take advantage of underutilized rail assets, establish another viable alternative to the single-occupancy vehicle, and expand the amount of affordable housing for Anchorage's workforce. Imagine what you could you do during your daily commute if you didn't have to watch the road.

Railroads make communities safer. They lessen road congestion meaning fewer accidents on The Glenn Highway. Trains are amongst the safest and most efficient ways to travel during harsh winter conditions, such as snow and ice.

How it would work

Operational: As the entity with rail expertise, the Alaska Railroad could be the operating agent. They would partner with the municipalities to provide the commuter train service. This service would initially include service between the Mat-Su Valley, Downtown Anchorage Depot, and the Airport during peak AM/PM times.

Funding: Implementing commuter rail service could be achieved through various funding models, including federal funding, local and state governments providing matching funds, commitment by ADOT&PF to develop a Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) to secure federal funds, or some combination of all three.


Members of the commuter rail coalition at the Mat-Su Transportation Fair