Lawmakers won't fund road

Posted: Friday, January 07, 2000

The issues regarding the Skagway-Juneau road are complex. Throw in that we're talking isolated, fiord-dwelling, rabid individuals and a balanced 300 word letter is not forthcoming. This is a pro-road, Skagway-centric, single-issue letter. Of course the Empire is a regional paper so they will not mind the Skagway-centricity.

There is a vocal group who insists that the marine route is custom-made for the fiord-dwellers. Reality is that ferries are a large, ongoing expenditure funded begrudgingly by a Rail-Belt legislature. They have already proved they do not want to fund ferries. Selling them on the transportation needs of 800 Skagway voters, year-round, is not happening. It is pie-in-the-sky thinking that they are going to ante up big yearly budget bucks to fund an adequate level of service to maintain a ferry system sufficient for a year-round economy. A veritable belly laugh.

Road building is mostly federal funds, and a one-time expense. If you think road maintenance for a road would not be forthcoming for a Juneau to Skagway road, ask yourself how much longer are they going to fund a year-round road from Skagway to Whitehorse for those wild and crazy 800 voters without an oar haul, without any compelling traffic numbers, without a road to the Capitol?

Ferry service in the winter will continue to decline. Skagway will not have a transportation system to support a year-round economy and, very soon, there will not be any Skagway voters around to complain. They will have all gone home for the winter.

Skagway - Think (this should be a bumper sticker): Rail-Belt legislators, they are just not going to fund year-round, economy-building ferries for 800 isolationists.

Robert Henricksen

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