Vanderbilt Hill Road a better place to cross to Douglas

Posted: Monday, October 04, 2010

Proponents of Proposition 2, which will appear on the Oct. 5 municipal ballot, and which asks us to use 10 years' worth of sales taxes to build a North Douglas Crossing, say that they intend to build the crossing at Sunny Point near Walmart. As long as this is their preferred location for the crossing, and as long as they intend to use a sales tax to fund it, I intend to vote no on Proposition 2.

There is a much better alternative to the Proposition 2 plan, already identified by the Alaska Department of Transportation as the best location for a crossing. If built the Vanderbilt Hill Road near the Pioneers Home, the causeway would be at the edge of the main part of the Mendenhall wetlands, not though the middle of it. It would be less than half the length, thereby burying less than half the fish and wildlife habitat. And it would cover mostly mud and water, not the beautiful grasslands everyone stops to enjoy at the scenic overlook near the mouth of Lemon Creek. Imagine looking from there toward the Chilkat Mountains and seeing another Egan Drive dissecting your view.

And every time you buy groceries, gas, building materials , toys, a new car - anything you buy in Juneau - a portion of it will go to help pay for this poorly conceived project and you will have that much less money in your wallet. If a crossing is to be built, I would rather see it funded through the usual sources for road building - state and federal money.

Please join me in voting no on Proposition 2. Aside from ruining the wetlands, it will cost you thousands of dollars over the next ten years in additional sales tax and divert much needed money ($70 to $135 million) from more important things like schools, road maintenance, police and fire protection, and better recreational facilities.

Skip Gray


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