My turn: Governor isn't listening to sentiments about the road

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2006

If we ever had a governor who did not want to hear what people thought about the state and the way it spends our money, it has to be Frank Murkowski. Somehow he does not hear or want to hear the word "no" and feels that he alone knows what is best for the state.

Several months ago at Centennial Hall there were two days of taking testimony concerning a road out of Juneau. I went both days and evenings in order to testify and to hear what others had to say. People were there from all over Southeast and the majority by far said "no road," loud and clear. What we wanted was a dependable, reliable and affordable fast ferry to get us in and out of Juneau. The majority of the people of Haines and Skagway also said "no road."

Our ferry service is a service to the public; it is our highway in Southeast. The ferry terminal should be as close to downtown as possible so that people with or without vehicles can enjoy our city. The public does not want to drive many miles to a terminal in order to get on a ferry out in the middle of nowhere. Also, the public does not want to drive many miles to pick up a friend who is a walk-on passenger and who wants to visit Juneau. Some people don't travel the ferry with cars but are walk-ons. If a person walked on at Petersburg in order to go to the Haines fair, got to Juneau and was told that they needed to take a taxi some 70 miles north to catch a ferry to Haines, the cost of that would be prohibited. Does the governor think that just because he can travel by jet, which the Legislature told him he could not have, that all people can or want to travel by car?

We are not even talking about the environmental damage done to endangered species or the cost in millions of dollars that would take to make this road possible, nor the times it would be closed due to avalanches or the fact that it still is not a road out of Juneau, but a road to a ferry terminal some 90 miles away where one would still need to ride a ferry to get to Haines or Skagway. This asinine road project makes no sense. We've all seen the many trees piled along Egan Drive near the great wall that were cut for a three-mile road extension - just think of the trees that would need to be cut for another 50 miles of pavement for a road to nowhere.

Does this governor have any ears? How loud do we need to shout "no road" for him to hear? I don't believe this governor intends to listen or wants to listen. It's up to us to protest loud and clear and to ask the Legislature to buy Frank a hearing aid - one for each ear.

• Janet Kussart is a Juneau resident.



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