Access road ignores Haines economy

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Is it the Murkowski administration's plan to make the ferry service to Haines so horrid this year that even those historically opposed to the Juneau road will become supporters? If so, it is not working; it is just making folks angry.

The other day, here in Haines, I looked for a current Empire; it was Thursday, and the most recent paper available was from the previous Sunday. The reality here is that air service in winter is spotty at best. And day after day I hear on the radio that the Klondike Highway is closed due to ice and avalanches. If the road were built, it would be closed just as often. Ferry service would unquestionably deteriorate, although it is hard to imagine it being much worse. And the Whitehorse medical community has recently announced it won't be treating folks from Haines anymore. The truth is that a new road would isolate us more. We need better ferry service.

Juneau has voted down a road; Haines and Skagway are opposed. Yet the state's environmental impact statement has "identified a need" to which it is purportedly responding. Whose need? The construction industry's?

The ferry system is part of the magic that makes Southeast Alaska so wonderful. Travelers from Outside love it. They stop in Haines, they spend money here; this economy depends on them. This administration prides itself on economic development, yet it is perched ready to chuck the Haines economy in favor of what? I don't know. I ask them just to give us the ferry service we need and want, and scrap the road.

Deborah Vogt


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