Agreement expected soon between state and Ma-Su Borough on railroad right of way

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An agreement between the state and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough is soon to be finalized regarding state land the Borough wants for a railroad right of way. The Borough had purchased several agricultural parcels from the state in the Point MacKenzie area for a right of way for the rail spur between Port MacKenzie and Houston. But agricultural covenants on the land didn’t allow industrial use.

The Borough sued to have the covenants removed, according to state attorney Bob McFarlane. McFarlane says removing the agricultural covenants is a precedent in Alaska.

“The agricultural covenants that we’ve agreed to remove, that will be removed in this case, is only for the portion of the parcels. There’s ten parcels involved,” says McFarlane. “It’s only for the portion that will be used by the railroad. ”

The railroad right of way will be on land previously authorized by the federal Surface Transportation Board. MacFarlane hopes to have the purchase wrapped up by April.

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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen