Let's buck the DOT steamroller

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, July 17, 2006

As a Juneau resident who likes to stay informed of local issues, I am usually hard-pressed to find the time to get personally involved. But I felt strongly enough about the proposal to extend the road most of the way up Lynn Canal to get myself down to the Planning Commission hearing last week and testify. I commend the members of the Planning Commission, who listened to us receptively and thoughtfully and who bucked the pressure to rubber-stamp the Department of Transportation's proposal, which was neither well-prepared nor well thought out.

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For almost four years, DOT and Gov. Murkowski have been pushing hard to bulldoze a road up the Lynn Canal, all the while ignoring valid concerns raised by residents of Skagway, Haines and Juneau. The Planning Commission did its homework and stopped to ask hard questions about the real impacts and shortcomings of the project. If we're going to build a road, which seems to me to be a poor idea, especially since it now just means a longer drive to the ferry terminal 85 miles out of town, the state needs to slow down and do it right.

While the Planning Commission's decision is admirable, it's not enough. For Juneau to have any effect on how this project is done, the Juneau Assembly has to back up the Planning Commission's decision by the beginning of August. Encourage the Assembly to buck the DOT steamroller and stand up for Juneau's best interests by sending your concerns before July 26 to the city of Juneau Assembly, 155 S. Seward St., Juneau, AK, 99801.

Bart Watson


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