Deep-six the Juneau access road project

Posted: Monday, February 04, 2008

A state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities' Web page describes our transportation situation like this:

"You're trying to save up for your kids' college education. The washing machine just broke. The truck is on its last legs, but you've got to make do because the balance in the checkbook just turned red. What are you going to do? Alaska's transportation program is in a similar predicament."

Might we be in a predicament because the department wants to spend $374 million on a road to nowhere? That's what the department says a Juneau road will cost, but if that number is as accurate as the department's estimate to build a scaled-down version of the same road, we're looking at a low bid of $748 million! For that amount, you could probably send every Alaska kid to college, and buy every Alaska family a new washing machine and a new truck!

Where would the road go? To a new ferry terminal located at Katzehin (that's the nowhere part of this road extension). The last time the department compared the cost of this road and ferry package with the existing ferry package, the road and ferry was twice as expensive to the state over its expected 35-year life span.

If the department is really concerned about finding money to fix our aging infrastructure and to also fund real rather than imaginary new construction needs, why not start by deep-sixing this lingering Murkowski-era boondoggle?

Mark Kistler


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