Common sense says build the road

Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2009

To date, every single problematic aspect of building the Juneau access road has a sound and valid solution to it. I agree with Gov. Sarah Palin's statement while she was running for governor: "I do not understand why anybody would not want a road." There must be some hidden agenda in the mindset of the anti-road group that we mere mortals are unaware of. Perhaps they are afraid of the inbound traffic on what would become the world's most beautiful road?

The pro-road people have continually been put on the defensive side of this argument, as they fend off one potential problem after the next. What comes next? The defense of the endangered left-handed tree frog's habitat? The question should not be should we have a road, but why we didn't get one 50 years ago.

Transportation is the life blood of any community. Comparing ferry boats to road systems is like comparing apples and oranges. A ferry boat's service is like a blood transfusion. A road is like an intact vein or major artery. When we discuss the road issue, we are talking about the very survival of Juneau. Even if they move the capital, we have a chance of survival as a viable community with a road, whereas without one we'll become a ghost town for summer tourists to visit.

Since we pro-roaders continue to be on the defensive side of this argument, perhaps some of you who are undecided on the issues will keep an open mind to the matter and focus on the end product of having an access road. My reasons are numerous, although I am not anti ferry boat. In fact, the road will help the ferry system, mainly be eliminating the need for up to two ferries to ply the Lynn Canal route, which should result in better ferry service for all SE Alaska. If two brand new ferries were built today, in 50 years they would have to be recycled into razor blades, whereas a road would continue to service everyone.

I have followed with interest the actions for a second crossing here in Juneau. Have you ever wondered why the second crossing is a planned bridge instead of a new ferry crossing Gastineau Channel? The same reasoning applies to the access road. Let common sense prevail.

Mark S. Patterson

Tee Harbor

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