Roads, roads, roads. Whenever you pick up a newspaper, you see a politician promising roads. It's the same when you watch TV or listen to the radio. It's very clear that the politicians want more roads. It's also very clear that it's motivated by politicians and not by the people.
For example, in the Juneau Empire of Sept. 15, Murkowski promised a road to Juneau if he became governor. This promise was made in spite of the fact that the people of Skagway, Haines and Juneau have said they didn't want this road. What is the overall price of the road anyway? About 46,000 people were killed in 1994 through motor vehicle accidents and 2 million were injured or maimed. Three million people total, have been killed on roads. This is more than twice the total of all Americans killed in wars fought by the United States. More than 60 percent of the land in U.S. cities is taken up for storage, servicing, and movement of motor vehicles. It also makes higher per-capita costs for sewage construction, road maintenance, and other services. Annually, around $300 billion subsidizes motor vehicles through road construction, highway patrols, tax losses lost to highways, ambulances, and hospital service. All of this doesn't include the cost of crime. One clear example is the Washington, D.C.-area snipers. Even if only one Alaska state ferry capsized and sank, it wouldn't even come close to all the disastrous effects of a highway. The campaign being carried out by politicians for roads may mean less money for other much-needed programs. There is a great study that was done by Greg Brown of Alaska Pacific University on roads and you can find it on the Web. This study shows that 75 percent of the people didn't want new roads and preferred more money for road maintenance. Since Alaska has more coastline than all of the continental U.S., I always thought the best thing in the past was the Grumman Goose that flew for Alaska Coastal Airlines.