ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Alaska Railroad could face some tough decisions after the U.S. Senate chose last week to cut $30 million in federal funds designated for the railroad from the Senate transportation bill.
Alaska's senators, Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski, pushed for an amendment to include the railroad funding in that bill but it was ultimately unsuccessful. They still supported the overall package, however, because it also contains more than $1 billion for transportation investments and thousands of jobs in Alaska over the next two years.
Alaska Railroad CEO Chris Aadnesen said the possible cuts probably won’t affect the company's 650 year-round employees, but it could impact the summer positions.
"It won’t affect trips, probably, but it will affect the structure of the company business model we use," Aadnesen said. "Federal grants are about 24 percent of the revenue from the Alaska Railroad Corporation, so it would be a significant hit, so to speak, so we’ll have to look at everything including job reductions and adjustments to services."