Sheffield considered for job as Anchorage port director

Posted: Monday, April 30, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Former-Gov. Bill Sheffield is in the running to become director of the Port of Anchorage. That comes just months after he resigned as president of the Alaska Railroad.

Anchorage Mayor George Wuerch said he plans to interview at least one other person but won't make a decision until after meeting with Sheffield next week.

Sheffield ran the railroad from 1997 until his resignation in January. He said he left mostly because of a difficult final 15 months that included three derailments of fuel cars.

Sheffield served as Alaska governor from 1982 to 1986.

Wuerch said Sheffield was an appealing candidate because he has developed capital projects and has demonstrated skills working with interest groups.

Sheffield attracted about $250 million in federal money to improve the railroad, which hadn't seen major work since the 1950s.

Since October 1999, three derailments spilled more than 133,000 gallons of jet fuel and gasoline.

One accident investigator said that despite the derailments, the track was in better shape than it had been a few years earlier.

Wuerch said Friday he was looking for a transition director as the port evaluates how much to charge shippers, has its harbor deepened and builds a new dock to accommodate larger ships.

He said he expects the job to last up to a year.

Former port director Don Dietz retired April 20. He had held the job since 1992.

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