Alaska editorial: Juneau activist doesn't want the new highway

Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2003

This Voice of the Times editorial appeared in Wednesday's Anchorage Daily News:

Juneau residents think in ways that are different from most other Alaskans. All things considered, folks in Southcentral and Central Alaska believe it would be a good thing if they could hop in a car, truck or motorhome and drive on a highway all the way to the state's capital city. They can't do it now, because no roads connect Juneau to anywhere but Douglas, a community on Admiralty Island just across the Gastineau Channel.

A road is unappealing to a lady with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council in Juneau, who apparently presumes to speak for everybody else in the capital. Said Emily Ferry in a letter to the editor of the Anchorage Daily News last Saturday, "Unlike other communities in Alaska, Juneau has a surface transportation system that has worked well for over 30 years."

The ferry system now serving Juneau, she says, is all the surface connection Juneau needs.

"There may be some important transportation projects that do need more attention and funding," Ms. Ferry wrote. "A road to Juneau is not one of them."

We suspect this lady speaks only for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and its like-minded green activists. People we know in Juneau (those who represent the more mainstream of capital city thought) want very much to mitigate the isolation that impairs its commercial, political and social relationships with the population centers of the state.

However, if this conservation council bunch truly speaks for Juneau, we can easily list a lot of other street and highway projects that could use the dollars that otherwise would be wasted building a road to Juneau.

A big number of those construction opportunities exist right here in Anchorage. And the people of Anchorage would welcome any funds people in Juneau want to transfer up here.

Editor's note: This editorial is republished as it appeared in print Wednesday in Anchorage, including the erroneous reference to Admiralty Island. That mistake aside, the Empire concurs in the need for a road connecting Juneau and the rest of Alaska.

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