We need road access

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, March 04, 2005

All you have to do is look at the ferry schedule and see how many days and hours that are wasted meeting the ferry schedule on a round-trip ticket to Haines or Skagway traveling from outlying areas in Southeast Alaska.

A road to Haines and a ferry terminal constructed north of the Katzehin River delta and shuttle service between Katzehin and the Lutak ferry terminal in Haines would be a great improvement.

A round trip for four people with vehicle costs $548 on a ferry to Skagway (not counting lodging, meals and delays). You can make the same trip driving the road for $20 including gas, two hours driving each way. You tell me which is more economical.

You can drive from Skagway to Portland, Ore., (round trip) for under $800 including gas, meals and lodging. The same trip from Juneau to Bellingham on a ferry is $2,600 with stateroom, not including meals and delays from outlying areas.

Which is the most economical? As for the safety issue, how lucky were the passengers on the LaConte when it grounded on a rock pile. If it would have slipped off the rock pile, it would have sunk in seconds, and also the Fairweather when the hull split.

I can't see how the Marine Highway System can afford to operate the fast ferries when they consume 2,100 gallons of fuel from Juneau to Skagway.

No, people who want to use the road system aren't petty, shortsighted and selfish. They want no delays, affordable travel. That's economy.

Dean Nielson


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