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Letter: Consider 'all' the facts

Posted: June 17, 2014 - 12:00am

In his recent My Turn, Chuck Collins asks everyone to use facts when considering the Juneau Road extension, but then fails to do so himself.  Perhaps his most egregious error is the $150 million cost estimate he cites. The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has repeatedly said that it will cost over half a billion dollars to build the 50-mile road to the Katzehin River delta.

Another fact excluded from the My Turn is that constructing a road would necessitate an INCREASE in ferry infrastructure by adding a new terminal and dock at the Katzehin River and two new ferries to connect with Haines and Skagway.  While the two new shuttle ferries are not included in the official cost estimate, the dead-end would be useless without them.  Thus, we should add in the $120 million cost of each of these ferries, which brings the cost for the proposed Lynn Canal road/ferry system closer to $700 million. That is over four times the price Mr. Collins quoted. The cost is very important to consider when evaluating whether it is worth it to build the road.

Juneau, Skagway and Haines already have ferry terminals located more conveniently to the people in our communities, not less conveniently as Mr. Collins states.

I agree that our aging mainline ferries need to be replaced, but I fear that the plan to build a road north of Juneau will leave the the other coastal communities who rely on the ferry system high and dry. The Alaska Marine Highway System should benefit all of Alaska’s coastal communities. Our inside passage is a nationally recognized scenic highway and as such is a great value to the people of Alaska. 

Chris Niemi

Douglas, Alaska  

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Clay Good
Clay Good 06/17/14 - 09:15 am
I'm Going to Haines This Week.

Sure am glad I don't have to drive 90 miles to walk on a ferry for a 15 minute ferry ride from a new dead end to the Haines ferry terminal.

Karl Ashenbrenner
Karl Ashenbrenner 06/21/14 - 05:52 am
the proposed

shuttle ferry is another thing that is not addressed by road advocates....think Ketchikan airport ferry....capacity 11 vehicles. So you drive all the way to Katzehin then have to wait to get to Haines for how long? Makes a lot of sense....NOT!

Wayne Coogan
Wayne Coogan 06/22/14 - 03:44 pm
Facts, honesty, perspective...

According to Brown University, as of 2010, US taxpayers paid about $4-trillion for the Iraq and Afghan wars. Extrapolation to 2014 brings it to $6-trillion conservatively. Much of the cost is borrowed. Its been said we borrowed $1-billion from the Chinese to build communication infrastructure in Afghanistan and Iraq; and, we hired the Chinese to build it. That's right, we borrowed a billion for cel-towers, etc. for Afghans and Iraqis and paid our money-lenders to do the work for us.

If the Juneau Access Road costs $1-billion, that would be 0.016% of what we spent on Afghans and Iraqis. However, the money for our road would not be borrowed; it would come from the federal highway trust fund (fuel and excise taxes). The workers would be Alaskans and Americans. When (not if) our country goes bankrupt, all the money spent on those wars will be a distant memory of questionable purpose. However, the Juneau road will still be there, a solid investment for all to use regardless of what the status of our government is. Just remember, if the dollar collapses, the barges don't sail and the grocery store shelves will be empty in one week. Isolated Juneau would be in a difficult situation.

And Karl, if you want Juneau to remain isolated for your own philosophical or political reasons, I respect that. I admit that I want Juneau to have more dependable access. I admit I'm okay with the government spending a billion dollars to build something as tangible as a road in the context of what I described above. I ask that you kindly cease uttering nonsense about how the road will enrich me any more than anyone else in Juneau.

Brad Fluetsch
Brad Fluetsch 06/23/14 - 06:57 am
Heading to Haines on the Columbia

It would be so much easier, faster and cheaper to have driven up to Haines.

The $74 round trip walk on ticket would buy a tank of gas which gets me 300 miles.

I could have taken all the gear I need instead of rationing to only what I could carry. I would have a vehicle in Haines while I am there.

It would not have taken me 5-6 hours to get to Haines and I could arrange my arrival time to a more useful time.

Build the Road!

Brad Fluetsch
Brad Fluetsch 06/23/14 - 10:38 am
5 hour delay

So I have been sitting on the Columbia since 6:30 AM and we are still in Juneau, 100 hour new engine warrantee service. Curious if the schedulers knew when a hundred hours would be reached or frankly if they were even told about it by the engineering folks. Since the Fast Ferry is parked next to us, I asked the purser if it was heading to Haines, his response, don't know, we are not given that information, but I can go online and find out. So if you want to go back in time the Alaska Ferry system is still firmly entrenched in the 1960's.

10 hours of time for a hour and a half drive at three times the price....

Build the road!

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