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Juneau is the only state capital city on the North American continent that cannot be reached by road.
One may argue that it is not necessary for a capital to be located near a state's principal population centers. Precedents abound in Pennsylvania, New York, Washington, Kentucky, Nevada and even California. Of course, one of the reasons folks in those states long ago laid to rest the question of where to put the capital is that their citizens can drive to the seat of government even if they have to drive from one end of their state to the other.
A road linking Juneau to America is the surest way to silent the drum beat for moving the Legislature and capital. Hopefully, the Alaska and Frank Committees will overcome the current attempt to move the Legislature. You can bet your dwindling PFD, however, that similar move initiatives will continue until Alaskans are assured that they can drive to their capital city.
Some Assembly members have recently awakened to the reality that the lack of a road is the single greatest threat to Juneau's economic health and retention of the capital complex and functions. I applaud their insight and courage.
A few of the candidates seeking your support and votes in the upcoming municipal elections have come to the same conclusion and have actually used the "R" word in their campaign literature and responses to published candidate surveys. Other office seekers continue to hide behind weaker code words like "access" and "EIS" because they do not want voters to know that they and their like-minded supporters actually oppose building the road.
There are clear choices in Tuesday's municipal election and important issues that have been discussed such as tourism, schools, round-abouts, and the Juneau ursine infestation. They pale in comparison to the simple one-word issue that will ultimately determine Juneau's long term future: Road!
Of the 634,000 residents in the state of Alaska, probably no more than 3 percent think building a road to their capital city is a bad idea. Unfortunately, most of that 3 percent lives and votes in Juneau. Unless you and I go to the polls on Tuesday and vote for candidates who are comfortable and committed to using words like "road," "jobs," "growth," and "development," that 3 percent will continue their choke hold on Juneau's future.