Sitka's leadership needs to change its priorities

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2004

Juneau, you might be interested to learn that the City of Sitka ranks building a road out of Juneau as more important than providing adequate ferry service to Sitka.

With all due respect to the leadership of Sitka, I believe there is a serious misunderstanding between our leaders and Sitka's citizenry on the issue of the Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan.

How many times have Sitkans repeatedly asked for better ferry service and no new roads, be they out of Juneau or across Baranoff Island?

In a letter dated Feb. 11, Sitka's mayor and city administrator wrote to Gary Paxton of DOT to share the city's "unanimous support" of certain elements of the plan.

First on the list of these elements is "complete the Juneau Access road." Number five on the list is "ensure that ferry service for Sitka improves over current levels." Most folks interpret such lists as being ranked by level of priority.

The motto on the bottom of the City of Sitka's letterhead is: "Providing for today ... preparing for tomorrow." It strikes me as curious that the city's letter to DOT proposes exactly the reverse order.

Apparently, it is more important to our leadership to once again study roads across Baranof that Sitkans routinely oppose and to build a road out of Juneau, than it is to improve our existing ferry service and thereby truly provide for today before we think about wish lists for tomorrow.

Kenyon Fields

Sitka



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