I'm writing in response to proposals to move Juneau's ferry terminal to Cascade Point in Berners Bay. Proponents of this project reason that it will take less travel time to get from Juneau to Skagway and back. They fail to mention that what you loose from ferry travel time you gain in the time it takes to drive another 30 miles out to the terminal.
In the winter this time will dramatically increase and be more hazardous then simply catching the ferry at Auke Bay. Particularly since it snows more and is much colder out the road. There would also be added costs to the state for maintaining more miles of Glacier Highway in a safe condition for the increased traffic. The state has also just spent $5 million renovating the Auke Bay terminal and doesn't need to use $10 million to build another.
In testimony before the House Transportation Committee civic leaders in Haines said the new ferry proposed for Juneau, with its daily service, will increase travel between Haines and Juneau during the winter, bringing in off-season visitor dollars. With 60 miles of winter road travel added to the journey, that isn't likely to happen. There is also the fact that the Auke Bay Terminal is in a more protected harbor than any that exists at Cascade Point, which is exposed to heavy wind, waves and currents.
Finally, such a move will add costs for the traveling public due to increased car miles to travel, and in the case of foot passengers, the increased cost of bus or taxi travel. This added travel time, added cost and added inconvenience for the public is not being proposed for reasons of public benefit. The reason for moving Juneau's ferry terminal to Cascade Point is that a corporation wants it there for its own benefit. This proposal wouldn't exist without that motivation.
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