Alaska Railroad approves new policy to charge money for land use

Nathaniel Herz

The Alaska Railroad's board of directors has approved a new plan to charge neighboring residents hundreds of dollars for using land near the tracks, and to potentially limit their access.

At its meeting Tuesday, the board approved the new "residential right of way use policy," which governs the strip of land that typically extends 100 feet parallel to the tracks on both sides.

The railroad says that neighboring residents have been encroaching into the right of way over time, generating safety concerns.

It plans to bar land uses that extend more than 30 feet into the right-of-way, and under the new policy, adjoining property owners will have to pay at least $250 a year to use any railroad land -- plus a $250 application fee.

The railroad says that no more than 100 adjoining properties would be affected in Anchorage. It plans to put the policy in place along the railroad's entire corridor, extending north to areas like Talkeetna and south to the Portage Valley.

Railroad officials had extended the comment period on the new policy after some residents of neighborhoods abutting the railroad had complained that they hadn't been given adequate notice of the changes.

Reach Nathaniel Herz at or 257-4311.