I am writing this letter in support of the Juneau Access Road. This road has been dubbed the "Capitol Highway" by our neighbors up north, not the "road to nowhere," as the hometown critics love to say.
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My opinion is that the Juneau Access Road was never in competition with the ferry system - big, little or not at all. Only when it was to come to a vote of the people of Juneau did certain Assembly people pit one against the other, turning a vote that was either to support a road or not into the ferries versus roads debacle we now have. At a time when the "slow ferries" needed to be replaced, the road opponents pushed the "fast ferries" on us.
The ferries and the road will work together as a complete system, one supporting the other. The Juneau Access Road will take much of the heat off the ferries to supply affordable travel to and from the capital.
Contrary to what we hear and read, the majority of the people in Haines and Skagway, as evidenced by the response to the environmental impact study, do support road access.
We have had enough studies, designs, alternatives, committees, hearings, etc. It is time to build the Capitol Highway. It will supply the needed and wanted access to the Capitol of Alaska. This road will enable people to travel in and out of Alaska in a convenient and affordable fashion. In the long-run, the savings of the State of Alaska will be substantial.
In this day and age the ferries are not practical. Fuel prices are skyrocketing, with no idea where or when they are going to top out. Also, there are the inherent dangers of being at sea, as we saw recently with three ferry mishaps being reported in the Juneau Empire - one of them just south of us in British Columbia, and another was a grounding of a substitute ferry with 95 passengers, most of them school children from town. It is not a scare tactic.
I have been a resident of Juneau for more than 30 years. Back then, there was nobody against the road. Now it seems we have people against just about everything.
T. Kelly Corrigan