Amazing comments in Juneau road debate

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2006

Recently, local media reported two amazing comments on the Juneau access road.

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In his opinion piece on May 4, Ben Brown said, "I am certain that almost every person who opposes the project today will eventually be a user of the (road) once it is open." Of course! Those who oppose this project will use the road. Why? Because we will have no choice. There will be no other surface route north from Juneau once the road is complete. Mr. Brown's assertion is irrelevant and not a valid argument.

A local radio station reported the honorable Sen. Wilkens, Senate Finance Committee co-chairman, saying the road is inevitable. So we must embrace it. Remember the Texas gubernatorial candidate who killed his campaign with one inappropriate joke about a certain heinous crime? The punch line: "If you can't stop it, lay back and enjoy it." I would love to be there when proponents of an issue Sen. Wilkens opposes tell him that their cause is inevitable, so he should embrace it. Do his constituents embrace the loss of funding for North Star Borough road maintenance and improvements to fund the Juneau road?

The best pro-road argument seems to be: It's happening, so you must support it. No logical argument has convinced us to justify the cost and risk of the project. If it had, the majority of Alaskans would now favor it. Stating that an end result is inevitable doesn't surmount the engineering obstacles that must be overcome before completion - problems, I understand, that our best engineers still have not come close to solving. If we must embrace the road, at least show us that it actually can be completed before we pour funds into it.

Why should this project move forward without evidence that all aspects of the plan can be successfully carried out? One can't get a municipal permit to build until the plans are complete, inspected and certified. Why would we demand any less of a government spending our money, building on our land?

To convince the majority that this is a sound project takes more than saying, "We want it," "It's inevitable," or the completely laughable, "We can't give in to mob rule (majority opinion) on this."

Please prove to us that it's really needed, that it can really be done, and that it's truly cheaper than improving the transportation system already in place before you begin construction.

Mark Zeiger

Juneau



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