Rebutting arguments for a road

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Matt Koepple chastises me for my opinion about a road north from Juneau (Oct. 21). With all due respect to Mr. Koepelle and his unique perspective as a DOT employee, which undoubtedly qualifies him far better than me - and perhaps opens issues of conflict of interest - I wish to point out some flaws in his argument.

Matt claims that a road north will open up Juneau to trucking from Anchorage and Fairbanks, and that we will no longer be dependent on barging freight. I wonder if Matt realizes that Anchorage and Fairbanks receive most freight by barge now, and that trucking direct from the Lower 48 is far more expensive than barging by a factor of several multiples?

Matt complains about ferry costs, but conveniently forgets that a road north will be a toll road with the fee "yet to be announced." There's an old adage saying "there ain't no free ride" and that will apply to any road north in spades. Proponents would have you believe a road up Lynn Canal is a piece of cake and can be built for roughly the same cost per mile as a road down south. It makes me wonder 1) have they even seen that place or 2) which planet they are from or 3) more likely, how dumb they think people must be to accept that? Any road up Lynn Canal will be enormously expensive to build and cost far more per mile to maintain later. These are taxpayer dollars.

The argument that a road will eliminate the call to move the capital is specious at best - once a legislator makes that two-day drive once or twice the clamor to move the capital will be even louder. Give me a break.

While it may be nice for Matt to "check out Skagway" on the weekend, if he can't find things to do around town now, he ain't looking. Anyway, people everywhere routinely take the airplane on most trips over 200 miles or so unless on vacation.

It always amazes me that someone comes to Juneau and right away starts hollering to change things to make it just like where they came from.

Respect the treasure we have now and don't turn things into Seattle North.

Erik Lie-Nielsen


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