Money better spent on additional ferries

Posted: Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I would like to respond to Charley Larson's letter from last week Thursday. I agree with Mr. Larson that affordability should be a huge consideration when we consider whether to support the Juneau-Skagway road proposal. On the surface it appears taking a ferry trip to Skagway is more expensive than a road trip, but Mr. Larson ignores other costs that should be part of the equation. Drivers will likely pay a hefty toll each time they drove up the road and folks traveling to Haines would have to pay an additional fee to take the ferry there anyway.

A road out of Juneau would cost about $300 million, according to the latest estimates from the Department of Transportation. That is not a one-time payment either; costs associated with road maintenance, snow removal and avalanche control are never factored into the equation, and would be sky-high every year.

As residents of Southeast Alaska we live in an archipelago that is better served by marine transportation than "Lower 48"-type road connections. The Alaska Marine Highway has served this region well for decades. Even if we build a costly road out of Juneau we will need ferry transportation to communities south and west of Juneau. Let's spend our money where it makes the most sense by putting transportation dollars toward more frequent ferries between Juneau, Skagway and our neighbors throughout Southeast Alaska.

Darryl Tseu


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