Not Gov. Egan's ferry system

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, January 24, 2005

I fully expected to see the Fairweather pulled from service. I just wasn't sure which excuse the state would use to facilitate their agenda.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Department of Transportation (DOT), is a road system agency and has to justify the planners and engineers that are on the payroll. They along with some state officials have systematically degraded the service provided by the marine highway system to, in my opinion, turn citizens against it to make the roads they want to build more appealing to people in the affected areas.

An example of mismanagement is the "rogue wave" incident. How ignorant do these DOT people think we are? I've lived in Skagway long enough to know that when it's blowing 70 you don't leave the dock unless your ship is designed to operate in conditions that the Fairweather left Haines in. Rogue wave my butt; try wave after wave.

The equation that begs to be asked and answered is this: Why after the Skagway incident and with the conditions above what the ship was designed to operate in was the ship allowed to depart the Haines terminal? Who gave the order to leave Haines?

The marine highway system has gone from a reliable, dependable service to a hit-and-miss operation. It now caters to the tourist industry and lays up a large part of the fleet each fall. The system is not the same one that came into existence under Gov. Egan and was to be the transportation for road communities.

I think it's time to quit screwing up the system, which I believe is intentional, and provide the service that the ferry system was intended for. If DOT wants to build roads, then do so where roads are warranted and supported. Not by cramming one down our throats by destroying the existing marine highway system.

John Mielke


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