Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Friday formally introduced legislation to create a new state corporation to take charge of power generation in the state’s most heavily populated area.

Under the governor’s proposal, a new Greater Railbelt Energy and Transmission Corp. would be created and charged with building new power generation for the corridor from Fairbanks through Anchorage to Kenai, known colloquially as the “railbelt” because it is served by the Alaska Railroad.

The new corporation would incorporate six existing municipal and cooperative utilities as members, with the objective of creating one rate structure and to build new power generation capacity at the most efficient locations, Palin said in a news release.

“Instead of numerous different utilities heading in numerous different directions, costing consumers untold millions of dollars in the future, I’ve asked energy experts to find a way to sensibly and economically address Railbelt energy challenges,” she said.

As introduced, the bill would give the six utilities until July 2010 to determine if they will commit to the new regional organization.

However, Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, told the Anchorage Daily News he thought it unlikely the Legislature could complete such a bill before its scheduled adjournment April 19.

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