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Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I enjoy reading the Juneau Empire's editorials even though I live in Colorado. I would like to encourage your local readers to support their legislators on the Southeast Alaska road transportation system.

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The time to act is now, not later. If you fail to make a viable start toward building a road system, you will miss out on all the federal help in the future. It will be easier to receive funding for a plan in the process of implementation than for a bunch of dreams and studies.

If you haven't looked lately, our federal government is being moved rapidly toward permanent budget crisis. Can you continue to afford to gamble with your economic future? I believe roads will open up your area to a new future.

Roads have served us well, here in Colorado. Why do I draw that parallel? We share similar dependency on tourism. People come from all over the country and world to tour our scenic byways and enjoy the beauty. Yes, like your readers have mentioned, there is danger in opening up rugged mountain terrain to motor vehicles, but it is well worth the risk. In our travels to many areas, we are warned of the possibility of falling rocks and avalanches. And yes, both do occur here. I will say this though, you never hear someone say, "Lets remove the road so that it will not happen again." No, instead the response to such events is, "How soon before the road will reopen?"

We depend on road access, as I'm sure your area will also. This is a world economy, and like us you are a part of it. You must compete - like the rest of us - for the tourist trade. There is more to this trade than cruise ships and remote excursions. Please, don't make the mistake of depending on things to always stay the same and never change. In future years, cruise ship passengers could be just as content to sit off the coast of China. Or, this mode of discovery by cruise ship could become too energy inefficient for most of us to afford. I encourage your lawmakers in Juneau to provide good leadership and move forward with the plan to build a road system that will work for Southeast Alaska.

Ken Hardin

Glade Park, Colo.

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