My Turn: Liberation from airlines, ferries

Posted: Monday, August 21, 2006

A s a concerned Alaskan and lifelong resident of Juneau, I am concerned with all of the opposition to the proposed road. I feel that after living here 23 years, it's time Juneau realized the negative state that it is in. It really is a joke that those who want to censure the road, to block it and instead "improve the ferry system" are the same people who can afford to ride the ferry system on its limited schedule (but do they really?) and they are the same people who could easily afford to pay $400 a ticket to go to Seattle or $300 to Anchorage. Do they not realize that by denying the road, they are denying more than half the citizens of this town a chance to enjoy cheaper access to others parts of Alaska and the Lower 48? I realize that the environment is a huge factor in their concerns, as it is mine, but get real.

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Unless Juneau does build this road, I guarantee you, these same "groups" are going to help elect a governor who will move the capital out of Juneau, one office at a time (candidates who do not live here, why would they care?). Open up your eyes. Juneau has not "consistently placed strengthening the Marine Highway System above any other means of transportation for Southeast." The ferry system will always be slower and less efficient then building a road. They can't run it 24/7 and it will always be crowded. The schedule is choppy, and so one would have to schedule their life around it. Geez. If you'll remember, we voted for the road twice now, years ago and all this bickering is still going on.

The only people who don't want it built are those who are too selfish to realize that Juneau needs to do something different if we want to keep the capital and lower costs of living. The environment issue can be dealt with, but unfortunately, it is not enough of a concern to block the road. It can be fixed, if these groups would like to. They could provide us with the "unflawed" information. They are special interests, so there might be some bias on their end, right? It makes no sense.

The issue here is that unless the road is built, Juneau will lose more than a capital. It will lose many of the people who make this town just as special as it is. No one will be able to afford living here, what with the rising gas prices and such. I think that by building the road and allowing access to others, Juneau will benefit from more money and lower transportation costs. Let's get it out there. Alaska Airlines rapes the people of this community, even when it gets subsidies from the government to provide access to these isolated communities. Wake up and smell the coffee. Build the road, and we won't be a prisoner to the airlines or the ferry system. Otherwise, I guess I'll be seeing you down south.

• Nickie Flanders is a Juneau resident.

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