Mr. Bruce Hale, in his letter on the Lynn Canal access road ("Pro-roaders: Please explain argument," Aug. 8) asked for truth, honesty and forthrightness. Amen.
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I might add facts to this. Fact No. 1 is that the Lynn Canal access road will not be a toll road. Fact No. 2 is that travelers up Lynn Canal will not have to get to the ferry terminal two hours ahead of time and take four to six hours to get to Haines as they do today. Travelers will drive to the terminal at Katzehin, with a short ride to Haines on a ferry that will operate eight round trips a day at a cost of $15 or more at current costs.
Anti-road folks ask for better service at a more reasonable cost. This is like the proverbial railroad tracks that don't meet. The state has had many good managers of the Alaska Marine Highway System and none of them have been able to solve this problem. In fact, in the last three or four years, there have been more runs up Lynn Canal than previously and ridership continues to drop. Current figures from the Department of Transportation show an additional drop of 7 percent in vehicles traveling the system in Southeast Alaska. At the high cost of fuel, labor and other operating costs, this trend will continue. Folks just can't afford to ride the system.
One wonders, with the current financial situation that the state is in due to the loss of revenue from North Slope oil and the current deficit of more than $100 million each year that the ferry system is operating under, whether the system we see today is the same one we will see in the future.
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