Road not the right investment

Posted: Sunday, February 05, 2006

In his recent My Turn, Mr. Poor ("Southeast's transportation system falling into place," Jan. 27) seems to think an avalanche-prone road, part of which could actually be constructed below the high-tide mark, sounds enticing to most travelers, but the economics just don't add up. The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities found that the road would actually be 45 percent more expensive to maintain than then existing ferry system. It would also take travelers longer to reach Haines and Skagway than a comfortable ride on the ferry and would be far less predictable.

Imagine racing along Avalanche Alley to catch the last ferry of the day, only to find a line of 30 recreational vehicles in front of you. How much sense does it make to drive about 70 miles past the current ferry dock, on a twisting two-lane road, just to catch another boat? If we took the money DOT/PF wants to throw away on this project and invested it in the ferry system, we could lower the fares and increase reliability of an existing, proven transportation system.

Twist the numbers as you will, but just about anyone who has taken more than 30 seconds to think about the logistical nightmares, safety issues and overall ridiculousness of this plan would certainly come to the conclusion that construction of the dead-end extension is a sign that Southeast's transportation system is not falling together but falling apart.

John Hudson


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