Guv wrong on road

Posted: Friday, September 29, 2000

The headline in Sunday's Empire boldly proclaimed "Road-Ferry Vote a Matter of Politics." That's right. And that's why if you want a road out of Juneau, it's critical you vote for it on Tuesday.

Certainly Gov. Knowles' decision to abandon the road and veto funding to complete the EIS was an unfortunate setback. And just last Friday he warned us that a vote for the road is a vote against the ferry, resulting in less ferry service.

But the governor is wrong. My vote for the road is not against ferry service. The road will ultimately allow northern Southeast ferry funding to be reallocated to improve service for the rest of Southeast. By voting for the road I'm voting for both; a road out of Juneau and better ferry service for the rest of Southeast.

Joe Geldhof warns that if we vote for the road the Sierra Club will label us "goofballs" and spend the next five years opposing the road "just for sport." Joe has also asserted that those of us who haven't given up on a road are just not being realistic. However, I am neither nave or unrealistic. Despite the legal and political roadblocks threatened by the Sierra Club and others, the road can and should be built. We can successfully address those challenges.

Let's not be pushed, bullied, threatened or ridiculed into abandoning the road by one politician, any environmental group or those who oppose the road for whatever reason. Let's not agree to remain roadless simply because some people oppose development. Let's not be fooled into thinking that just because it will take several years to accomplish that it can't or won't happen. And let's not miss out on the freedom that a road will provide and the jobs and federal highway dollars that building it will bring to Southeast.

It's about politics, all right. Our opponents are doing everything in their power to say, "No, you can't have a road, no way, not today, not tomorrow." And they will win unless every one of us who wants a road votes for it on Election Day.

This vote does mean a lot. Why else would the governor try to influence a local election? Take the next step. Vote for the road and for each Assembly candidate who supports the road. We can do it.

Tom Williams


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