Build consensus, not a road

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, February 27, 2005

There are many good reasons not to build a road from Juneau to Skagway. Safety, the irreparable harm that will be done to the natural environment, the massive expense and avalanches come to mind. However, the most-compelling reason not to build this road is the lack of support for it in the three communities of Upper Lynn Canal. Whether you are for or against the road, it should disturb all of us that something of this magnitude could be done when there is not a clear majority of local people who want it to be done. If most of the people in Haines, Juneau and Skagway wanted the road to be built, I would disagree with them, but I would at least be able to respect that a road is what people actually want. Right now, without a clear majority in favor of such a massive undertaking, the best course of action is to take no action at all and go back to the drawing board.

It is, after all, very difficult to "unbuild" a road. Although I can see the bumper stickers already, and I would buy one. If the road is a mistake, and I sincerely believe that it is, it will be one we have to live with forever. Rather than building this road and continually pushing an idea that has, at best, divided the communities that would be affected by it, the Department of Transportation should work with the people of Juneau, Skagway and Haines on a real transportation solution that a clear majority of us can support. A solution that ensures we can maintain the quality of life that our unique communities and natural environment provide.

Jamie Karnik


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