United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Aug 20, 2019

§ 1203.
Transfer authorization
(a)
Authority of Secretary; time, manner, etc., of transfer

Subject to the provisions of this chapter, the United States, through the Secretary, shall transfer all rail properties of the Alaska Railroad to the State. Such transfer shall occur as soon as practicable after the Secretary has made the certifications required by subsection (d) of this section and shall be accomplished in the manner specified in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)
Simultaneous and interim transfers, conveyances, etc.
(1)
On the date of transfer, the Secretary shall simultaneously:
(A)
deliver to the State a bill of sale conveying title to all rail properties of the Alaska Railroad except any interest in real property;
(B)
deliver to the State an interim conveyance of the rail properties of the Alaska Railroad that are not conveyed pursuant to subparagraph (A) of this paragraph and are not subject to unresolved claims of valid existing rights;
(C)
deliver to the State an exclusive license granting the State the right to use all rail properties of the Alaska Railroad not conveyed pursuant to subparagraphs (A) or (B) of this paragraph pending conveyances in accordance with the review and settlement or final administrative adjudication of claims of valid existing rights;
(D)
convey to the State a deed granting the State (i) an exclusive-use easement for that portion of the right-of-way of the Alaska Railroad within the Denali National Park and Preserve extending not less than one hundred feet on either side of the main or branch line tracks, and eight feet on either side of the centerline of the “Y” track connecting the main line of the railroad to the power station at McKinley Park Station and (ii) title to railroad-related improvements within such right-of-way.
Prior to taking the action specified in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of this paragraph, the Secretary shall consult with the Secretary of the Interior. The exclusive-use easement granted pursuant to subparagraph (D) of this paragraph and all rights afforded by such easement shall be exercised only for railroad purposes, and for such other transportation, transmission, or communication purposes for which lands subject to such easement were utilized as of January 14, 1983.
(2)
The Secretary shall deliver to the State an interim conveyance of rail properties of the Alaska Railroad described in paragraph (1)(C) of this subsection that become available for conveyance to the State after the date of transfer as a result of settlement, relinquishment, or final administrative adjudication pursuant to section 1205 of this title. Where the rail properties to be conveyed pursuant to this paragraph are surveyed at the time they become available for conveyance to the State, the Secretary shall deliver a patent therefor in lieu of an interim conveyance.
(3)
The force and effect of an interim conveyance made pursuant to paragraphs (1)(B) or (2) of this subsection shall be to convey to and vest in the State exactly the same right, title, and interest in and to the rail properties identified therein as the State would have received had it been issued a patent by the United States. The Secretary of the Interior shall survey the land conveyed by an interim conveyance to the State pursuant to paragraphs (1)(B) or (2) of this subsection and, upon completion of the survey, the Secretary shall issue a patent therefor.
(4)
The license granted pursuant to paragraph (1)(C) of this subsection shall authorize the State to use, occupy, and directly receive all benefits of the rail properties described in the license for the operation of the State-owned railroad in conformity with the Memorandum of Understanding referred to in section 1205(b)(3) of this title. The license shall be exclusive, subject only to valid leases, permits, and other instruments issued before the date of transfer and easements reserved pursuant to subsection (c)(2) of this section. With respect to any parcel conveyed pursuant to this chapter, the license shall terminate upon conveyance of such parcel.
(c)
Reservations to United States in interim conveyances and patents
(1)
Interim conveyances and patents issued to the State pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall confirm, convey and vest in the State all reservations to the United States (whether or not expressed in a particular patent or document of title), except the unexercised reservations to the United States for future rights-of-way made or required by the first section of the Act of March 12, 1914 (43 U.S.C. 975d). The conveyance to the State of such reservations shall not be affected by the repeal of such Act under section 615 of this title.1
1
 See References in Text note below.
(2)
In the license granted under subsection (b)(1)(C) of this section and in all conveyances made to the State under this chapter, there shall be reserved to the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Agriculture, as appropriate, existing easements for administration (including agency transportation and utility purposes) that are identified in the report required by section 1204(a) of this title. The appropriate Secretary may obtain, only after consent of the State, such future easements as are necessary for administration. Existing and future easements and use of such easements shall not interfere with operations and support functions of the State-owned railroad.
(3)
There shall be reserved to the Secretary of the Interior the right to use and occupy, without compensation, five thousand square feet of land at Talkeetna, Alaska, as described in ARR lease numbered 69–25–0003–5165 for National Park Service administrative activities, so long as the use or occupation does not interfere with the operation of the State-owned railroad. This reservation shall be effective on the date of transfer under this section or the expiration date of such lease, whichever is later.
(d)
Certifications by Secretary; scope, subject matter, etc.
(1)
Prior to the date of transfer, the Secretary shall certify that the State has agreed to operate the railroad as a rail carrier in intrastate and interstate commerce.
(2)
(A)
Prior to the date of transfer, the Secretary shall also certify that the State has agreed to assume all rights, liabilities, and obligations of the Alaska Railroad on the date of transfer, including leases, permits, licenses, contracts, agreements, claims, tariffs, accounts receivable, and accounts payable, except as otherwise provided by this chapter.
(B)
Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the United States shall be solely responsible for—
(i)
all claims and causes of action against the Alaska Railroad that accrue on or before the date of transfer, regardless of the date on which legal proceedings asserting such claims were or may be filed, except that the United States shall, in the case of any tort claim, only be responsible for any such claim against the United States that accrues before the date of transfer and results in an award, compromise, or settlement of more than $2,500, and the United States shall not compromise or settle any claim resulting in State liability without the consent of the State, which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld; and
(ii)
all claims that resulted in a judgment or award against the Alaska Railroad before the date of transfer.
(C)
For purposes of subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, the term “accrue” shall have the meaning contained in section 2401 of title 28.
(D)
Any hazardous substance, petroleum or other contaminant release at or from the State-owned rail properties that began prior to January 5, 1985, shall be and remain the liability of the United States for damages and for the costs of investigation and cleanup. Such liability shall be enforceable under 42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.1 for any release described in the preceding sentence.
(3)
(A)
Prior to the date of transfer, the Secretary shall also certify that the State-owned railroad has established arrangements pursuant to section 1206 of this title to protect the employment interests of employees of the Alaska Railroad during the two-year period commencing on the date of transfer. These arrangements shall include provisions—
(i)
which ensure that the State-owned railroad will adopt collective bargaining agreements in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph (B) of this paragraph;
(ii)
for the retention of all employees, other than officers of the Alaska Railroad, who elect to transfer to the State-owned railroad in their same positions for the two-year period commencing on the date of transfer, except in cases of reassignment, separation for cause, resignation, retirement, or lack of work;
(iii)
for the payment of compensation to transferred employees (other than employees provided for in subparagraph (E) of this paragraph), except in cases of separation for cause, resignation, retirement, or lack of work, for two years commencing on the date of transfer at or above the base salary levels in effect for such employees on the date of transfer, unless the parties otherwise agree during that two-year period;
(iv)
for priority of reemployment at the State-owned railroad during the two-year period commencing on the date of transfer for transferred employees who are separated for lack of work, in accordance with subparagraph (C) of this paragraph (except for officers of the Alaska Railroad, who shall receive such priority for one year following the date of transfer);
(v)
for credit during the two-year period commencing on the date of transfer for accrued annual and sick leave, seniority rights, and relocation and turnaround travel allowances which have been accrued during their period of Federal employment by transfered 2
2
 So in original.
employees retained by the State-owned railroad (except for officers of the Alaska Railroad, who shall receive such credit for one year following the date of transfer);
(vi)
for payment to transferred employees retained by the State-owned railroad during the two-year period commencing on the date of transfer, including for one year officers retained or separated under subparagraph (E) of this paragraph, of an amount equivalent to the cost-of-living allowance to which they are entitled as Federal employees on the day before the date of transfer, in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph (D) of this paragraph; and
(vii)
for health and life insurance programs for transferred employees retained by the State-owned railroad during the two-year period commencing on the date of transfer, substantially equivalent to the Federal health and life insurance programs available to employees on the day before the date of transfer (except for officers of the Alaska Railroad, who shall receive such credit for one year following the date of transfer).
(B)
The State-owned railroad shall adopt all collective bargaining agreements which are in effect on the date of transfer. Such agreements shall continue in effect for the two-year period commencing on the date of transfer, unless the parties agree to the contrary before the expiration of that two-year period. Such agreements shall be renegotiated during the two-year period, unless the parties agree to the contrary. Any labor-management negotiation impasse declared before the date of transfer shall be settled in accordance with chapter 71 of title 5. Any impasse declared after the date of transfer shall be subject to applicable State law.
(C)
Federal service shall be included in the computation of seniority for transferred employees with priority for reemployment, as provided in subparagraph (A)(iv) of this paragraph.
(D)
Payment to transferred employees pursuant to subparagraph (A)(vi) of this paragraph shall not exceed the percentage of any transferred employee’s base salary level provided by the United States as a cost-of-living allowance on the day before the date of transfer, unless the parties agree to the contrary.
(E)
Prior to the date of transfer, the Secretary shall also certify that the State-owned railroad has agreed to the retention, for at least one year from the date of transfer, of the offices of the Alaska Railroad, except in cases of separation for cause, resignation, retirement, or lack of work, at or above their base salaries in effect on the date of transfer, in such positions as the State-owned railroad may determine; or to the payment of lump-sum severance pay in an amount equal to such base salary for one year to officers not retained by the State-owned railroad upon transfer or, for officers separated within one year on or after the date of transfer, of a portion of such lump-sum severance payment (diminished pro rata for employment by the State-owned railroad within one year of the date of transfer prior to separation).
(4)
Prior to the date of transfer, the Secretary shall also certify that the State has agreed to allow representatives of the Secretary adequate access to employees and records of the Alaska Railroad when needed for the performance of functions related to the period of Federal ownership.
(5)
Prior to the date of transfer, the Secretary shall also certify that the State has agreed to compensate the United States at the value, if any, determined pursuant to section 1204(d) of this title.
(Pub. L. 97–468, title VI, § 604, Jan. 14, 1983, 96 Stat. 2559; Pub. L. 108–7, div. I, title III, § 345(5), Feb. 20, 2003, 117 Stat. 418; Pub. L. 108–447, div. H, title I, § 152(3), Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3222.)
cite as: 45 USC 1203