Connecting Port MacKenzie to the mainline of the Alaska Railroad will create an economic boon for the Central Alaska regional economy, from Fairbanks-North Star Borough, down through the Denali Borough, down through the MAT-SU Borough, to Anchorage, according to former Anchorage Mayor Rick Mystrom.
Called the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension, the project will bring dramatic benefits to Alaska.
“It facilitates the development of a world-class limestone deposit. There is enough limestone in the deposit north of Livengood to cover 5 percent of America's cement need for the next 20 years, but it can't get to port right now, it can't get to the Lower 48,” Mystrom told a recent Anchorage audience. “It also then would facilitate the development of a cement production facility in or around Fairbanks. It opens up the development corridor along the Railbelt to exploration & extraction of strategic minerals, lead, zinc, copper, molybdenum. And the Metz study says, even if just three of the five existing deposits are developed, it can create 3,000 jobs over the next 20 years.”
Mystrom is working as an Economic Development Advisor for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
He lives in the MAT-SU part time. He is speaking with some 20 or more groups from Fairbanks to Anchorage to help business communities and residents understand the economic benefits of the proposed 25-40 miles of new track to tidewater.
Tonight Mystrom met with the Willow Chamber of Commerce. Next Wednesday, Feb. 10 Mystrom will speak at the Palmer Chamber of Commerce luncheon. He will speak at the Wasilla Chamber Feb. 16 at noon, among other MAT-SU engagements.
An environmental impact statement is well underway to help select the route for the rail extension. A route from Port MacKenzie will connect to the mainline near Big Lake, Houston, or Willow, as yet, the link is not chosen.
Listen to excerpts of Mystrom's speech before the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 25.
Listen with player on right to what resource development via Port Mac Rail will bring.
Independent studies on statewide benefits from the Port Mac Rail extension are posted on the MAT-SU Borough's economic development page at http://bit.ly/economicstudiesMAT-SU
For more information call MAT-SU Borough Economic Development Director Dave Hanson 745-9508.
Photo of former Anchorage Mayor Rick Mystrom by Patty Sullivan, Public Affairs, MAT-SU Borough.