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Letter: Road debate no longer amusing

Posted: June 1, 2014 - 11:01pm

The letter touting the financial advantages of having a road from Juneau to Skagway omits a great deal of information. One-hundred-and-fifty-million dollars for the road does not take into account the cost of maintenance. First, the road must be blasted out of the rock that is the border of Lynn Canal. Let’s assume the $150 million is for that chore. But nothing is said of the avalanches that surely will occur or the cost of snow sheds that will be required in winter along the entire route.

The advantage to the Kensington Mine is brought up, but if the mine really wants the road why doesn’t it build it? Oh, we’re told with a sunny smile, the mine can contribute electricity via regular power lines along the route. How long will they last when the heavy snows come down? And the cost of repairs made more difficult or impossible because of the snow?

The high price of operating the ferries somehow overlooks the sad fact that a ferry will have to be used for the last eighteen miles anyway as the National Park in Haines has decreed no road. And how much cost will that be?

When I moved here from Sitka around 20 years ago I was rather amused by the argument for and against building the road.

Sad that it does continue even though the state is running a $3 billion deficit with more predicted and our Permanent Fund is under threat, that any rational argument could be made to invest not only millions to build a road up Lynn Canal that currently and easily is traversed daily by state ferries.

It is no longer an amusing local battle. We can’t afford and don’t need that road.

Dee Longenbaugh


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Wayne Coogan
Wayne Coogan 06/05/14 - 10:10 am
Wealth Transfer

The proposed Juneau Road is primarily federal-funded.... meaning the folks living in the more populated areas of the USA pay for it. It would be irrational to reject such a generous wealth transfer to our sparsely populated area. The city of Anchorage is an extreme example of a sponge soaking up such wealth redistribution while producing virtually nothing. Unlike Juneau it has no fishing, mining or tourism but rather just saps wealth through military spending and government construction projects. As long as US taxpayers foolishly toss money around Alaska Juneau should take its share.

As to the red-herring arguments about danger of avalanches and rock excavation, give us a break. The umpteen-thousand miles of similar roads built in North America are just fine. If you oppose the road because you truly want Juneau to stay isolated just admit it and stop talking nonsense. Honesty counts for a lot in any debate.

As to the 18-miles of park land the road cannot cross, lets again be honest. Everyone knows that if the road is built within 18-miles of Skagway, we will eventually find a way to pierce the sacred park with the final leg of the road. Many parks have roads going through them.

As to the ferries, no honest environmentalist can argue that those big diesel boats are more benign than a road to the environment. The longer your view the better the road looks.

Haily George
Haily George 06/05/14 - 10:59 am
"As long as US taxpayers

"As long as US taxpayers foolishly toss money around Alaska Juneau should take its share" ~The logic that broke this country.

You know Wayne, I respect that you speak "your" truth but I thank God there are still people reaching for something better.

Karl Ashenbrenner
Karl Ashenbrenner 06/06/14 - 07:36 am

considering it will cost close to a billion dollars and we are running deficits as it is.......heck no! Even if the rest of the US pays for it it is still a stupid idea that will only benefit a small portion of Alaskans. The "long" view Mr. Coogan refers to is his bottom line, not the well being of the State. Bad idea!

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