During a quick campaign stop in Juneau on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Don Young said he opposes moving legislative sessions away from the capital and said road access is the key to thwarting future move efforts.
Young, a Republican, faces Democrat Clifford Mark Greene, Libertarian Rob Clift and Green Party candidate Russel deForest in the Nov. 5 general election. Pollsters, however, predict Young, a 15-term incumbent and 10th highest ranking member of the U.S. House, is guaranteed re-election.
Young said he is not interested in taking Frank Murkowski's place in the U.S. Senate if Murkowski wins Alaska's gubernatorial election.
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At a Juneau Rotary luncheon, Young said he opposes the legislative move initiative on the Nov. 5 ballot, which would send sessions to Anchorage or the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
"I'm opposed to it for numerous reasons - one because it's not good government and No. 2, the expense is awesome," Young said. "There are better ways to spend the money."
He also said if access to Juneau does not improve, a move of legislative sessions or of the capital "is eventually going to happen."
"If you start the road and have accessibility, it takes away the major argument, and I think more people would be willing to travel this far," he said. "It would be great for tourism, and, consequently, it would take away the main impetus for moving the capital."
Money is not guaranteed for transportation projects, but Young said he would advocate for a 2-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax in Congress to pay for transportation projects.
Along with the road connecting Juneau to the rest of the Alaska highway system, Young said, the other two main projects in the state include a second crossing between Juneau and Douglas and a bridge between Ketchikan and its airport, which is on nearby Gravina Island.
Young was in Juneau before heading up to the Railbelt to continue his re-election campaign.
Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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