A rebuttal on road arguments

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2003

I just wanted to clarify the record to Erik Lie-Nielsen's rebuttal to my comments about the road to Skagway. Yes I do work for DOT, but my capacity is that of a computer network technician, so there is no conflict of interest.

While I just moved back up here from the Lower 48 a couple of years ago, I have been a Juneau resident off and on for over 30 years. My response was only against Erik stating that the road only benefits tourism and I think I made a good case that it doesn't just benefit tourism. Juneau needs to move forward with the times and not just stay stagnant. The population here has been around 30,000 for the last decade, which is one reason Juneau's economy hasn't really grown, but stayed status quo for the most part. The city is now facing a big budget deficit. Juneau must grow for its economy to really grow at a maintainable level.

Yes the cost for a road is expensive; most income generation does require some sort of investment. The road will not be free; the costs will be recouped over a period of time. Did Erik ever stop to think about how many jobs building the road would generate and how that would create a positive impact on Southeast Alaska's economy, especially Juneau's?

And finally about the capital move, there are other states that have legislators that routinely travel distances over 300 miles to get their respective capitols. One example is Idaho, where North Idaho legislators drive from Bonners Ferry all the way to Boise, which is over 500 miles. Not everyone chooses to fly because of the expense. Did Erik ever stop to consider that there are people who may actually enjoy the scenery a long drive like this could give someone? Let's stop being so afraid of a road and build the future.

Matt Keopple

Juneau



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