Jan. 16, 2010 — When the federal government handed the state ownership of the Alaska Railroad 25 years ago, the governor suggested the deal might become the best move “since William Seward bought Alaska from the Russians.”

The $22.3 million purchase, which would cost almost twice that in today’s dollars, gave the state ownership, but it didn’t close the door to federal aid.

The railroad mostly is independent — it falls outside the budgeting responsibilities of the state executive branch. But that independence has not provided a check on aid from Congress and federal agencies for construction, repair work and operating assistance following the deal.

Since 1996, the railroad has collected almost $800 million in federal support. Much of that support came from federal transit and railroad agencies, which also support railroads in other states.



Jan. 16, 1995 — The city has spent more than $175,000 to move employees into partially renovated Main School — $58,000 more than previously estimated for the project.

City engineer Rufus Bunch released a report about the moving and renovation costs to City Manager Pat Cole and city councilmen last week.

Although costs exceeded the estimate, Cole said he “doesn’t feel bad about that.”

“We did this on the fly, with one employee sitting at a desk and guessing how to move into a building, which we’ve never done before,” Cole said.



Jan. 16, 1970 — The University of Alaska Thursday agreed to allow students to charge long distance calls after pay telephones were removed last week from the campus by the Municipal Utilities System.

Students will now be able to charge a call on the university line by giving the campus operator their social security number or identification number.

George Solli, associate engineer for the Office of Planning and Operations, said the action was taken by the university after MUS removed pay telephones from the campus following the theft last month of four telephone instruments valued at $500 each.



Jan. 16, 1945 — Robert Harrop and Mary Burglin, co-chairmen of the President’s Birthday Ball committee, today announced committee appointments for the dance to be held Saturday, January 27, in the Eagles Hall.

The event is held annually, usually on the Saturday nearest President Roosevelt’s birthday, in all parts of the United States as a benefit for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which conducts research in the prevention and cure of the disease.

In addition to the committees and chairman for near-by communities, the names of the patrons and patronesses for the dance were listed.