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See through Juneau road confusion

Posted: Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Thanks to Sen. Kim Elton for attempting to shed some light on the driveway-to-a-new-ferry-terminal project. (In terming the project "The Juneau Road," people seem to forget that new boats and ferry terminals are critical links in the current plan.)

We've been told that 50 professionals and consultants at the Department of Transportation have been studying this project. Unfortunately, from day one, the information that they've chosen to reveal has been clearly skewed in favor of constructing a road. It started with former transportation department Southeast Region Director Gary Paxton's comments that anyone who doesn't agree with the project should "get out of the way so we can move forward." And it continues today with transportation department regional Director Mal Menzie's recent performance before the Legislature, in which he attempted to compare the cost of the 3,000-mile Alaska Marine Highway System with that of a 50-mile stretch of road.

You can't really blame the folks at the transportation department. After all, we are dealing with engineers who have been trained to build big, expensive, bridges and roads - it's in their blood.

Perhaps that explains why the transportation department needs so many high-powered people "studying" the project; it's just been that difficult to make the numbers add up to a project that makes sense.

My hope is that Gov. Sarah Palin is able to see through it all and make the right decision.

Gareth Hummel

Juneau



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